Elevator Pitch by Linwood Barclay has one of the most intriguing urban mystery storylines I have encountered so far. It had amazing characters and kept me on edge until the very end, and I really enjoyed it!
The terror starts on a Monday, when four people get into an elevator in a Manhattan office tower. They each press their buttons for their floors, but the elevator continues going to the top, without stopping. Once it reaches the top, it pauses for a few seconds, but the doors don’t open. Instead, the elevator starts to go down. And then it plummets.
Right to the bottom of the shaft.
It seems to be a terrible accident, but on Tuesday, it happens again, in a different skyscraper in Manhattan. And then it happens on Wednesday too. In three days, this city that represents the capital of media, finance and entertainment is in chaos.
Nothing is random about these events. This is clearly a very calculated attack. And it works. Thousands of men and women that work in the offices across the city refuse to leave their lives in fear. Economy starts to slow down. Emergency calls to the top floors of the apartment towers go unanswered.
Who is behind all of this, and why are they doing it? Are these terror attacks connected to a body that was recently found? Two New York detectives and a journalist that doesn’t hold back will race against time to try and uncover the truth, before another accident happens again.
Believe it or not, this is the first book I read by Linwood Barclay. Listened to, more specifically. I have realised during lockdown that I love listening to audiobooks a lot more than usual. But I also realised that my preference with audiobooks seems to be the mystery genre. This may be the first, but it certainly won’t be the last book by Linwood Barclay that I will pick up.
I have always had a thing for elevators. The closed confined space, where you have nowhere to go once you’re inside. The random people that walk inside the elevator and that you may never see again. And the fear of “what if”. What if it falls today? What if those big chunky wires that hold the big cart in place and move it around one day snap, and I happen to be inside. And that random scene from the Resident Evil movie, where one member of the group loses their head trying to climb out from the stuck elevator, and it suddenly starts moving.
From the first moment I read the synopsis, I knew this book was for me. And it didn’t disappoint me. I loved the descriptions of the elevator falls, and the search from the detectives. I also loved the journalist, Barbara, and her daughter Arla. Even though a mystery, this book was focused a lot on the characters, and I think that added up to the richness and beauty of the story. I loved how different side characters were included in the story often, and by the end of the book they ended up having crucial roles to the climax.
The suspense in Elevator Pitch was a bit on the low side, in my opinion, and I think that was the main reason why this book wasn’t a 5 star. Whilst the accidents and mystery itself was quite intriguing, there weren’t any nail-biting moments, except for the very last few chapters of the book. The book prepared us very nicely for that, and that part was really suspenseful and very well-written. I wish that the previous events were more suspenseful too.
The ending was magnificent and so well done. The reasoning behind the who and why was so satisfying in the end, and as soon as you find out the answers you were waiting for, you will feel the relief and satisfaction flowing through you. And if that’s not a sign that this book is a very good thriller, then I’m not sure what is. I definitely recommend Elevator Pitch, a true gem!