Monday, 26 August 2019

Book Review: ELEVATOR PITCH by Linwood Barclay

Author: Linwood Barclay
Publisher: Harlequin Australia
Read: August 2019
Expected publication: 5 September 2019
My Rating: 🌟🌟🌟

Book Description:

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 and 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? 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 . . .

Pulsating with tension, Elevator Pitch is a riveting tale of psychological suspense that is all too plausible . . . and will chill readers to the bone.

My musings:

Do you ever have elevator dreams? I tend to get them when things in my life spiral out of control. I press the button, the light flashes. A whirr, a buzz, the doors slide open. There is that particular metallic elevator smell that seems to be universal across elevators everywhere and which takes me back to my childhood when I used to visit my Dad in his office, excited to be allowed to press the buttons. I am not excited now. I press the button. The door closes. A shudder passes through the floor and into my body. And then the plunge, the freefall, the feeling of doom. This is when I usually wake. Trust an author to use one of mankind’s worst fears to ratchet up the adrenaline in his latest thriller!

ELEVATOR PITCH was one of those books I absolutely had to read, because I love to challenge my demons. And Linwood does a great job with his elevator scenes. They are terrifying! I loved how we got a little bit of backstory about all the characters who are part of this nightmare, even though they feature only briefly before plunging to their deaths. It all made it very much relatable somehow, to a point where I am glad that there is no elevator ride in sight in my immediate future. I wish that there had been more of these kinds of scenes, because they truly terrified me and delivered exactly the thrills I had been hoping for when I picked up this book.

However, the elevator accidents are but a small part of a story that features various subplots and multiple different characters, which didn’t all gel with me. Whilst the various plotlines kept me guessing, they also felt a bit discordant and scattered, keeping me at arm’s length without one solid character to root for. Was it a police procedural? A political thriller? I’m not a great fan of too much political detail or motivation, and at times this novel almost crossed the line at which I would lose interest. There were many hot topics touched on here, like terrorism, politics, relationships, PTSD, the media etc etc, but only in a glancing, superficial fashion that never managed to get under my skin or made me overly uncomfortable (in the way the elevator scenes managed to do).

To be honest, I felt a little bit disappointed by this book. I agree that it was an entertaining and binge-worthy quick read that will delight many readers, but I had expected a bit more adrenaline! Just as I was truly invested in the terrifying elevator scenes and their consequences on the city of New York, the scene would shift to a much less exciting sub-plot I cared little about. I really thought that packing in so many red herrings and different storylines diluted the fear factor that could have made this a five star read for me. As it was, I neither loved it nor hated it, and it kept my interest enough to keep reading until the final reveal (which I did not see coming BTW). I remember feeling the same with A NOISE DOWNSTAIRS, so it’s probably just a matter of not quite gelling with the writing style (that’s reading life!). I am certain that I am in the minority here and that  other readers will wholeheartedly disagree with me, but felt that the book was not quite the tense thrill ride I had anticipated.


All in all, ELEVATOR PITCH was entertaining in the same way of an action movie with several subplots and a storyline that heavily relies on its viewers’ own phobias to do most of the thrilling. In fact, I think it would make a great movie! Personally, it did not quite deliver the tense thrills I had anticipated, even though it made a good palate cleanser after some heavy and bloodthirsty Nordic novels I have recently indulged in.

If you enjoyed the elevator scenes, you may also like:

The Escape Room

Thank you to Netgalley and Harlequin Australia for the free electronic copy of this novel and for giving me the opportunity to provide an honest review.

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