elevator pitch novel

New Thriller Uses Elevator Accidents As Gruesome Plot Device

  September 24, 2019

By Greg Zimmerman

When facility management makes its way into popular culture, many FMs understandably hold their breath. Will the author/screenwriter/etc. get obvious buildings-related issue wrong? Will they oversimplify things and make FMs look foolish? Or will they nail it — as many agreed was the case with the blockbuster movie Skyscraper from last summer?

A new novel by Linwood Barclay, a thriller titled Elevator Pitch, uses a pretty terrifying facet of facility management as its plot device: Elevator accidents. What if a killer used elevators to murder people? The novel begins with four people in a Manhattan high-rise elevator hurdling to their deaths when the elevator malfunctions. Or does it? It becomes increasingly clear that this is no accident or random event as this same thing happens every day for a week. Panic ensues, and the mayor has to decide whether to shut down all 70,000 commercial elevators in the city. When an elevator technician is found murdered on the High Line, it’s a first gruesome clue to solving these heinous crimes. 

What’s most scary about this idea is that it seems all too probable. Chicago buildings, for example, have seen a rash of elevator malfunctions in 2019. Elevator failures, despite all the modern technology and failsafes, are one of a facility manager’s worst nightmares. And being trapped in a failed elevator, or a failed elevator falling to the ground, are some of an occupants’ as well. A positive review for Elevator Pitch in Publisher’s Weekly certainly captures this idea: “Readers who live on high floors will glance nervously toward the nearest stairs as they tear through this exciting thriller.”

This post was submitted by Greg Zimmerman, executive editor, Building Operating Management and FacilitiesNet.com. Read his cover story about Chris Walinski and his mission to make open offices flexible and productive


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