Elevator Pitch by Linwood Barclay: Ingeniously executed and tingling with tension, Elevator Pitch is Barclay at his thrilling, chilling best. - book review -

Elevator Pitch
Elevator Pitch

When an elevator plunges from the top floor of a high-rise New York office building to the bottom of the shaft, killing all four people inside, it appears to be a shocking accident.

When an elevator plunges from the top floor of a high-rise New York office building to the bottom of the shaft, killing all four people inside, it appears to be a shocking accident.

But then it happens again for the next two consecutive days, and suddenly the city that never sleeps is in total chaos, because in one of the world’s busiest centres of commerce – and home to hundreds of tower blocks – who dares now to step into a lift?

Linwood Barclay, the bestselling US crime and thriller author with over twenty critically acclaimed novels to his name, takes us on a true rollercoaster ride in this chilling new mystery which sees two NYPD detectives, and a straight-talking newspaper reporter, in a heart-stopping race to track down the villains behind some deadly acts of sabotage.

Brimming with Barclay’s rich characterisation, and featuring a pulsating, complex plot which moves at the speed of a falling lift, and delivers killer twists at every turn, Elevator Pitch will have readers heading straight for the stairs.

It all starts on a Monday morning when four people step into an elevator in the Manhattan office tower of a large entertainments business. Each presses a button for their floor, but the elevator proceeds, without stopping, to the top. Once there, it doesn’t move 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, the nation’s central hub of media, finance and entertainment begins grinding to halt.

Clearly, this is anything but random. This is a cold, calculated bid to terrorise the city, and it’s certainly working. Fearing for their lives, thousands of office workers across the city refuse to leave their homes. Commerce has slowed to a trickle and emergency calls to the top floors of apartment buildings are going unanswered.

Who is behind this, is the elevator sabotage connected to a coffee shop bombing in Seattle by a domestic extremist group, and what do these terrorist acts have to do with the mutilated body of a man found on the High Line, the famous elevated park and rail trail on New York’s former Central Railroad?

With or without the help of dodgy Mayor Richard Wilson Headley, two seasoned New York detectives – Jerry Bourque and his partner and friend Lois Delgado – and sharp-shooting journalist Barbara Matheson must race against time to find the answers…

Barclay keeps us guessing right up to the final showdown as he ratchets up the suspense from the gripping opener and spreads darkness, terror and suspicion with the expert hand of a master storyteller.

But he also treats readers to the trademark detailed characterisation and dark brand of humour that have won his thrillers such a large and loyal fan club. From the emotionally insecure detective Bourque and the tough, doggedly determined journalist Barbara Matheson to the shady, double-talking Mayor Headley, these are people who bring the story to vivid life.

Ingeniously executed and tingling with tension, Elevator Pitch is Barclay at his thrilling, chilling best.

(HQ, paperback, £8.99)