Title: Elevator Pitch
Author: Linwood Barclay
It all begins on a Monday, when four people board an elevator in a Manhattan office tower. Each presses a button for their floor, but the elevator proceeds, non-stop, to the top. Once there, it stops for a few seconds, and then plummets.
Right to the bottom of the shaft.
It appears to be a horrific, random tragedy. But then, on Tuesday, it happens again, in a different Manhattan skyscraper. And when Wednesday brings yet another high-rise catastrophe, one of the most vertical cities in the world—and the nation’s capital of media, finance, and entertainment—is plunged into chaos.
Clearly, this is anything but random. This is a cold, calculated bid to terrorize the city. And it’s working. Fearing for their lives, thousands of men in women working in offices across the city refuse leave their homes. Commerce has slowed to a trickle. Emergency calls to the top floors of apartment buildings go unanswered.
Who is behind this? Why are they doing it? What do these deadly acts of sabotage have to do with the fingerless body found on the High Line? Two seasoned New York detectives and a straight-shooting journalist must race against time to find the answers before the city’s newest, and tallest, residential tower has its Friday night ribbon-cutting.
Elevator Pitch is well-crafted, exciting novel which has definitely now made me think twice – hesitating just for a second when I didn’t use to – before getting into a lift! It’s set in atmospheric, exciting New York city, one of the most ‘vertical cities’ in the world boasting a huge number of sky-scrapers (with, therefore, a real need for elevators), so when an elevator accident takes place, it’s awful but not too worrying… until another happens, and then another! As the characters in the book say, once is an accident, two can be a coincidence… but three?
I really liked the two main protagonists in this novel – particularly sharp journalist Barbara and Detective Bourque – and felt that Mayor Richard Headley was a suitably ‘hateable’ politician. The supporting characters all felt, on the whole, convincing and I enjoyed reading about them.
The plot builds up the tension well, with each day following the initial ‘incident’ split into sections and explored from various characters’ perspective. A surprising amount happens in each of these sections, so for people who want a plot to move along at breakneck speed – this perhaps isn’t one for you. However I felt that there was just the right amount of character and plot development as well as police investigation, plus lots of suspense to keep the reader wondering what will happen next. There are also some surprises along the way which I enjoyed reading.
As someone who (somehow!) has never read any Linwood Barclay novels before, this really impressed me and means I now want to get cracking on the rest of his back catalogue! I’d also like to see this made into a series with Barbara and Bourque (and his partner Delgado) investigating other crimes set against the gritty Manhattan backdrop.