Vertical Run

Vertical Run

4.5 32
by Joseph R. Garber

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You think YOU had a killer workday. . .
Get ready for the FASTEST thriller of the summer!

Each morning in his 45th floor executive office, David Elliot savors the quiet moments until the workday begins.

Until today, when his boss walks in and aims a gun at him.

For the rest of the day, he will be trapped in his midtown office building, and everyone David


You think YOU had a killer workday. . .
Get ready for the FASTEST thriller of the summer!

Each morning in his 45th floor executive office, David Elliot savors the quiet moments until the workday begins.

Until today, when his boss walks in and aims a gun at him.

For the rest of the day, he will be trapped in his midtown office building, and everyone David Elliot meets will try to kill him.

He has 24 hours to find out why. . .

In Vertical Run, you can escape into a world on fast forward, a drama that plays out with electrifying intensity.  No one who reads this book will ever see the office the same way again.

Vertical Run is available now — run for it!

A Book-of-the-Month Club featured selection

Soon to be a major motion picture from Warner Brothers and Peters
Entertainment Company

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"If ever a novel bristled with sheer intrigue and suspense, it's Garber's Vertical Run.  Fast-paced thrillers don't get any better than this!"
-Clive Cussler
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
David Elliot, businessman and Vietnam vet, is having an extraordinarily bad day. His boss has tried to kill him; code-named mercenaries stalk the corridors of his New York office building with orders to shoot him on sight; and even his wife and son have turned against him. To find out why everyone wants him dead, Elliot will reacquire skills he thought long gone, relive his previous few days on the job and find out just who his true friends really are-but first, he has to get out of his office building alive. Garber (Rascal Money) sets up Elliot's quandary convincingly, and if the forces arrayed against this resourceful hero seem a mite excessive, they reflect both the nature of the threat he unwittingly poses and the narrative's fashionably cynical view of how certain parts of the government clean house. The pace is fast, the action constant and the characters believable, especially the head mercenary, Ransome, who is in many ways Elliot's cold and ruthless twin. Elliot himself is more than just a sketchy action hero, thanks to flashbacks of his experiences in Vietnam, his adoption of some clever and surprising disguises and a quirky fondness for Mark Twain, whom he quotes throughout. Because Garber keeps things simple yet detailed, this highly satisfying, high-concept mix of D.O.A. and Die Hard, which tightens the suspense screws mercilessly and winds up with Elliot scaling the face of his office building, stands as one of the most invigorating thrillers of the summer. Major ad/promo; film rights sold to Jon Peters; BOMC alternate; translation rights: Ellen Levine. (Aug.)
Emily Melton
his bound-for-success thriller is not only a Book-of-the-Month Club alternate selection, it's also destined for the big screen with Jon Peters set to produce. Mel Gibson or Harrison Ford could play all-American hero David Elliott, although stuntmen would doubtless perform the commando-style tricks Elliott uses to outwit his enemies. It's just another day at the office for Dave, until his boss tries to shoot him. Then his wife, coworkers, and kids turn on him, and a gang of FBI sharpshooters trap him in a New York skyscraper. What Dave can't figure out is why it all went bad. Good thing he's a Vietnam vet with Green Berettype training who handily remembers his hand-to-hand combat, kung-fu, marksmanship, and booby-trap-setting skills. He uses them all to keep his would-be killers at bay while he tries to figure out why he's suddenly become an endangered species. Garber knows how to spin a web of steadily increasing suspense, keeping his readers on tenterhooks trying to figure out what's going on while the action builds to a totally unpredictable ending. Book and movie are both likely to be big hits, so be ready with multiple copies.

Product Details

Random House Publishing Group
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4.20(w) x 6.75(h) x 0.66(d)

Read an Excerpt

On the morning of the day he disappeared, David Elliot awoke, as he did every weekday, at precisely 5:45 A.M.

Dave slid his legs out from beneath Pratesi sheets.  He glanced neutrally at where his wife, Helen, lay curled into a small, tight ball, on the right-hand side of the bed.  The Panasonic clock radio on her nightstand was set for 8:20. By the time she awoke to her more cultured business day, he'd be in his midtown office, hard at work.

He stepped into the closet and swept his Nikes, sweatsuit, socks, and headband off a shelf.  Then, padding over to the long, low, far-too-modern bureau—the most recent fruit of Helen's obsessive redecorating—he fumbled a fanny pack out of a drawer, dropping a rolled-up change of underwear and his wallet, keys, and gold Rolex President watch into it.

After visiting the guest bathroom to relieve himself and brush his teeth, he went to the kitchen.  The Toshiba coffee maker's brew light glowed green.  The timer's digital display read 5:48.  He decanted the pot into a large enameled mug decorated with a picture of the 47 Ronin, the souvenir of a visit to the Sengakuji Temple during a business trip to Tokyo.  He emptied the grounds from the brewer basket, filled the machine's reservoir, and reset the timer for 8:15.  Helen needed her morning coffee just as much as he did.  Or maybe more so—Helen was far from sociable upon rising, and it was not until she opened the doors of her Lexington Avenue gallery that she put on her best behavior.

Warm, thick coffee slid down Dave's throat.  He shivered with pleasure.

Something soft brushed his pajama leg.  Dave reached down to tickle the cat's chin.  "Bon matin, ma belle," he said, knowing that all cats speak French of preference.  The cat, who was named Apache, arched her neck, stretched, and purred.

Helen loathed Apache's name.  She had insisted more than once that Dave change it.  Second marriages produce more compromises than first marriages.  Dave knew that, and knew that he should accede to his wife's request.  But a cat's name is a cat's name; it has nothing to do with its owner's wishes.  And so after five years of marriage Dave still called the animal "Apache," while Helen (who, being blonde, was used to having her way) icily referred to it as "that cat."

On Saturdays and Sundays, Dave ran west, jogging across Fifty-seventh Street to Fifth Avenue, then north to Central Park.  On those days, the running was purest pleasure.  There were fewer menacing crazies on the street—or so it seemed—and the runner could concentrate on running.

Less so the weekdays.  No matter how you ran, no matter where you ran, watchfulness was called for.  Certain blocks were to be avoided; alleys were a risk; none but the reckless jogged beneath bridges and overpasses; nor did the prudent begin their runs before dawn.  On a morning run even a man like David Elliot, a man who did not have an enemy in the world, sometimes glanced warily over his shoulder.

His workday route took him east on Fifty-seventh to Sutton Place, then north on York Avenue until he reached a pedestrian bridge across FDR Drive.  He ran up the path by the East River until he reached the high Nineties.  Once there, he turned south again, retracing his steps.  After crossing the bridge a second time, he jogged west to Park Avenue, and then south to the corner of Fiftieth and Park.

It usually was just after 7:00 A.M. when he entered his office.

As an executive vice president of his company, David Elliot was entitled to, and enjoyed, the perquisites of rank.  His forty-fifth floor suite consisted of eight hundred square feet of expensively understated space, a walk-in closet, a discreet wet bar, and a full bathroom with tub and shower.

Dave liked his water hot.  Steam filled the bathroom as he lathered himself from top to bottom twice over.  Still in the shower, he took a Gillette safety razor and a can of shaving cream from the shelf above the spigots.  He never used a mirror when shaving, and hadn't for so long he couldn't remember.  It was another habit he had picked up in a war unwillingly remembered.

7:20 A.M.

David Elliot, with a towel around his waist, stepped out of the bathroom and into his office.  On the mahogany credenza behind his matching mahogany desk, a Toshiba brewer, the twin of the model at home, beeped three times, signaling that his coffee was ready.  Dave filled a chocolate-brown mug with it.  The cup was decorated with a raised, angular, silver-enameled design: the Senterex corporate logo.

Dave took a sip and sighed.  Life without coffee is too awful to contemplate.

He noticed, damnit, that the watercolor over his credenza was askew. Every week or two, some dust-rag-wielding vandal from the nightly cleaning crew knocked the thing sideways.  It was a minor irritation, but one that was growing in its power to annoy.

Almost invariably Dave was the first person in the office—or at least the first in the executive suite.   Bernie Levy, master of the corporate ship, didn't show up until 8:00 or so, his limousine leaving Short Hills, New Jersey, at 6:50 sharp.  The rest of the executive cadre drifted in between 8:15 and 8:45, depending on what train they caught from Greenwich, Scarsdale, or Darien, and always much conditional upon that train running on time.  The first of the secretaries arrived at 8:30 punctually.

For this reason, Dave knew he could, as was his unvarying morning habit, lounge buck naked (but for a towel) at his desk, savoring the day's second cup of coffee, and studying the pages of The Wall Street Journal.

Several peaceful minutes later, with a third cup of coffee in his hand, he ambled into his walk-in closet to select his suit for the day.

Today he chose a lightweight tan, almost khaki, number.  Although the brutal humidity of the past summer had broken, the late September weather was still warm.  Dave's wool suits would remain on their hangers for a few weeks longer.

With suit pants donned and belted, and feet comfortably placed in soft, glove leather Bally loafers, Dave unwrapped a fresh, starched white shirt.  He put it on, and after some consideration selected from his tie rack a pale yellow tie with a blue motif.  A full-length mirror backed Dave's closet door.  He pulled the door three-quarters closed so that he could study himself.

Never learned how to knot a tie without a mirror, did you? his guardian angel asked.

He looked himself over carefully.  Not bad.  Not bad at all.  His waistline hadn't changed since college.  Forty-seven years old, but looking younger than that.  Oh, you handsome dog, you're going to live forever. Dave nodded as if in agreement.  The daily jogging, the two nights a week workout with weights, no smoking but for an occasional and much prized cigar, a diet about which even Helen couldn't complain, alcohol comsumption that was modest by any...


The questioning voice came from the office behind him—Bernie Levy's voice, its gruff Brooklyn accent unmistakable.  Dave glanced at his Rolex.  7:43.  Traffic must have been light this morning.  Senterex's chairman and CEO was in the office well ahead of schedule.  

Dave shrugged on his jacket, nudged his tie knot imperceptibly to the left, and gripping his coffee cup, pushed open the closet door.

"Yes, Bernie.  What's up?"

Bernie was facing away from the closet.  Dave didn't see his gun until he turned around.

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Vertical Run 4.5 out of 5 based on 1 ratings. 32 reviews.
scrcrow More than 1 year ago
I started this book and couldn't put it down. I couldn't guess the ending, and I usually can. I want to read MORE about Dave!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I first read this book back in 1999. It blew me away! I tore through it within 3 days. The action and suspense make it so hard to put down. This novel had kind of a Die Hard meets Rambo feel to it, and I love the main character's sense of humor. This thing needs to hit the big screen, and soon!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is one of the finest thrillers I've read. I read three to five books per week and needed a new author. I'd passed over Vertical Run when it first came out, but I loved it when I finally read it. The Viet Nam flashbacks are key to the character of the protagonist, providing insight into his current MO. He read beyond the obvious to achieve a successful result. Had the Viet Nam backstory not been broken up, it would have been too long. Like the movie True Lies, this book excellently mixes action and humor, instead of action and sex. My hat is off to Mr. Garber. Efficient, well-phrased prose. I'm looking for more. Somebody light a fire under this guy.
Abilene333 More than 1 year ago
This is one of the best entertaining books on the market. Hope this author writes more and soon. Rates right up there with John Grishom's first book. Be sure to read Vertical Run, but if you are travelling take two books because you will finish this one quickly. Won't be able to put it down.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
When I bought the book I was traveling and wanted something to read while in my room. Vertical Run kept me up all night burning from page to page. I finally finished it the next day and was not disappointed. I have read the book at least 5 times and still enjoy the thrill of the run. It was well written and kept you turning page after page to see what was going to happen next. I think the ending in the book leaves the reader the hope that there will be another sequel. Which has never happened. I have listened to the audio cassette book Vertical Run at least six (6) times and I enjoy it every time. I finally came on line to try and find a CD of the audio book since I don't have a cassette player in my truck. I read the one review where the writer really bashed the the story. He would probably be happier reading the adventures of Donald Duck. This has to be one of the best thrillers I have read. Clive Cussler, Lee Child, Tom Clancy, W.E.B. Griffin are some of my favorite authors and I have been waiting for Garber to write a sequel or for a movie to come out. This is a must read book to hang on to.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Action, action , and more action. Some of it stetches the limits of believability, but there's so much punch that it doesn't really matter. There are plenty of twists -- a couple of them are a bit too convenient, but one is a terrifically unexpected doozy. Even with its shortcomings, I have to admit that I really enjoyed reading this book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is well written and has a great plot. This one has got to have a sequal. And I'm waiting for the movie.
Anonymous 4 months ago
Left you with many unanswered questions. A bruce willis movie ions. A
Anonymous 4 months ago
Action packed! Great explanations that didn't slow down the story. If you like thrillers that keep you guessing, and yes, take some poetic license but who cares! This is your book. I can see this on the big screen, it's perfect for a movie!
Anonymous 3 days ago
Anonymous 4 months ago
One of the few books that were hard to put down until it was finished. Loved it!!!
Anonymous 4 months ago
What a book! Why is this not a movie? I was so caught up in this book I neglected everything else! I definitely want to read more about Dave Elliot and hope the author writes a sequel
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I had read this book when it first came out. Stayed up all night to finish it and was sorry when I did finish it, but it left me exhausted. What an energy rush of a story. Then bought the audio book for a road trip with my son. Some people get distracted by audio books when driving, they keep me alert. This one will want you to keepdriving until its done.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Excellent story, fast-paced plot. Dont know why this hasnt been made into a movie yet!!!!!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I remember reading this book years ago, and looked for it a while back, but couldn't find it anywhere. I hope that the movie is as good as the book. It made my day to find it here.
Silver Bluedragon More than 1 year ago
I read this years ago and it felt like I was in a high action movie. I have been waiting for the e-book version so I could have it in my "keeper" library collection.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
What a terrific 'sleeper' of a book; where has this author been? I am craving more of this author's work, but he isn't a very prolific writer. Ingenious, clever character development: the author allows us first person knowledge of the character's thought life. Don't miss this thriller - thoroughly satisfying and excitingly suspensful to the last page. What happened to the movie?
Guest More than 1 year ago
Time out! Call in sick to work, farm out the kids, turn off the phones- 'cos you won't want to do anything else while reading Vertical Run. I read Garber's latest, Whilrwind, first but actually preferred Vertical Run for its non stop action. The protagonist is think on your feet clever as he must stay alive and figure out why everyone he knows-and some he doesn't- wants to kill him. A thriller in the true sense of the word. Read it!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I've read a number of suspense-thrillers and this is by far the BEST page turner yet. Alot of books come close but Garber grabs you from the first few pages. You will read it front to back immediately. No 2hrs here, 2 hours there. I wish there were more titles by this author.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Overall, I enjoyed this book. I would give it about 3 1/2 stars for some of the action. However, there were parts when I thought I would cash it in and actually make it the first book in my life that I didn't finish. Too many flashbacks to Vietnam. Go back once to give the reader a foundation but that's all. You would get to a part that puts you on the edge of your seat and then...all of a sudden...YES...YES...without warning...the suspense is gone with another section on Mamba Jack. Borrow it from a library or a friend, but don't buy it.