Vertical Run

Vertical Run

4.5 27
by Joseph 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,… See more details below


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

From the Paperback edition.

Editorial Reviews

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.

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Product Details

Random House Publishing Group
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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.

From the Paperback edition.

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