Thursday 1 July 2021

Elevator Pitch

Finished June 29
Elevator Pitch by Linwood Barclay

This novel makes you look at elevators in a completely different way. In New York City, an elevator falls and all occupants are killed. It was a nice touch to have one of them doing an actual elevator pitch at the time. When a second elevator accident kills too, questions start arising about what is happening, and what caused the falls. 
Barbara Matheson is a reporter for a New York City paper. She covers mostly politics and business, and lately she's been writing a lot about the mayor, Richard Wilson Headley. .She calls out behaviour that  she considers sketchy, even if it is "how things get done." In this case it is the awarding of a construction contract to a firm owned by a big political donor. As she enters the story, she is at city hall with a crowd of reporters, hoping to ask questions. And she definitely gets a reaction. Along with the mayor are a few of his staff, including his twenty-five-year-old son, Glover. Glover and Richard have a not-always-smooth relationship, but Glover is bright in a techie way and helpful in certain areas. 
Barbara also has a difficult relationship with her child, daughter Arla. Barbara got pregnant when she was young and when the father wanted nothing to do with it, she considered her options. Her parents offered to take on the raising of Arla, and there was no secret that Arla was her daughter, but more recently, after her parents died, there have been tense discussions between the two women. 
Meanwhile, police have found a body, badly beaten and with an attempt to disguise the identity of the victim. As they research his identity and look for why this man was killed, one of them, Jerry Bourque is also dealing with PTSD and guilt from a recent case. 
There is also a group of people in the middle states of the U.S., who have organized their resentment at those on the coast and have acted out their frustrations in violent ways. A couple of them, including the head of the organization are in New York City, and questions arise about the ties to some of the accidents happening there. 
Conversations between a boy and his mother in a different font are interspersed through the story and only make sense as things are revealed near the end. 
I liked how all these storylines wove in and out of each other in a natural way, and not all the clues lead somewhere. 
As I said at the beginning, I also like how Barclay makes you think about ordinary, everyday things in a different way. This is something he does in many of his books, both the standalones like this one and The Accident, and many of the Promise Falls series. His characters are ordinary people who did things that you and I do, and then some of them get caught up in situations beyond what they could ever have expected. Even though this is a long book, it's a quick and satisfying read. 

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