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Linwood Barclay delivers thrills on a deadline

By Kobo • April 03, 2020Kobo in Conversation Podcast

"What if a young girl woke up and her whole family was gone? What if someone was sabotaging elevators throughout Manhattan? And once I have that 'what if' then I'm off to the races."

Growing up, Linwood Barclay relished the crime fiction of Rex Stout and Ross Macdonald, though at the time he wasn't interested in how the novels worked or writing books of his own. "I wasn't an analytical reader," he says.

And yet he still ended up writing professionally, working his way through a variety of newspaper jobs ⁠—and learning to work hard at his craft. "You don't get reporter's block or columnists' block. When you work for a newspaper, you have to produce."

That drive to deliver on time, every time, has allowed him to completely rethink his approach to writing and relaunch his career multiple times to his ultimate success as a thriller writer. Despite his concerns about streaming services as the new competition, as long as there are readers looking for a juicy "what if" story, Barclay will be here to deliver⁠ — usually ahead of deadline.

Elevator Pitch by Linwood Barclay

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, nonstop, to the top. Once there it pauses for a few seconds, but the doors don't open. Instead, the elevator begins to descend floor-by-floor. Then it plummets.

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