Best known for noirish suburban tales, Barclay manages the switch here to metropolitan mayhem with aplomb, juggling venal big-city politics, far-right terrorism, hubristic architecture and the co-option of the media with the same confidence he brings to orchestrating his sizeable ensemble. One of the likely meanings of the title is that the novel itself is a sly “pitch” for a film deal, and it has all the makings of a superior disaster movie.
Things get pretty heated in Manhattan in Linwood Barclay’s latest novel Elevator Pitch: someone is tampering with the lifts, causing people to plummet to their deaths, and leading, in a city full of skyscrapers, to widespread panic. It could be the work of the Flyovers, an “alt-right” group with grievances against liberal elites, or it could be someone with an altogether more personal agenda … While NYPD detective Jerry Bourque investigates the murder of an elevator technician, mayor Richard Headley agonises over what to do, and his number one critic, journalist Barbara Matheson, tries to uncover the truth. The plot, which also involves Headley’s son and Matheson’s daughter, is somewhat contrived, but Barclay does a good job of keeping all the characters in play in a proficient thriller that presses all the right buttons.
New Yorkers are falling to their deaths in rigged elevators and journalist Barbara Matheson is charged with finding out if domestic or foreign terrorism is behind the fatalities. Then a murder victim — an elevator technician — is found with his fingertips removed, and Matheson and detectives Jerry Bourque and Lois Delgado find themselves closer to a solution. Barclay’s publishers clearly want this book to do for elevators what Psycho did for showers and Jaws did for the ocean, but there is more going on. The plot is crammed with even more narrative twists than Barclay usually serves up. If Elevator Pitch is not, perhaps, vintage Barclay, it is still delivered with considerable acumen.
The colourful cast includes a pair of dysfunctional detectives (one of whom just happens to have a thing about skyscrapers), a bibulous newspaper columnist and the widowed mayor’s browbeaten son. If the misdirection is a little clumsy, the twists keep coming — but it is the unexpected comedy that keeps you reading.
In snappy chapters and pacy prose, Barclay has a lot of fun letting his scenario play out. “What would you have me do?… Tell New Yorkers to stop using the elevators until further notice? You have any idea what kind of chaos that would create in a vertical city like this?” demands the mayor. Reader: you will be glad to know that he does indeed give this order.
There are more than 60,000 elevators in New York City, and someone has found a way of using them to kill. That’s the premise of bestselling Barclay’s latest standalone novel, which opens when four people climb into a lift in a Manhattan skyscraper one morning... Superbly crafted, using all of Barclay’s hallmark skill, it’s an electrifying ride, with a haunting conclusion.
If you’ve ever been stick in a lift, this heart-stopping read will have extra resonance. Terror strikes in Manhattan when a lift plummets to the bottom of the shaft, killing its occupants. When the same thing happens in other buildings, it’s clear this is no accident but a series of carefully planned attacks. But who are they aimed at – and can the killer be caught. The suspense builds brilliantly in Barclay’s chilling crime thriller.