VERTICAL RUN by Joseph R. Garber


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A lone fall guy leads latter-day forces of darkness a merry, beat-the-clock chase in and around a Manhattan tower: an arresting paranoid fantasy from second-novelist Garber (Rascal Money, 1989). Shortly after an early-morning jog gets him to work at his accustomed 7:00 A.M., Dave Elliot is accosted by Bernie Levy, CEO of the multinational conglomerate that employs him as a senior vice president. Levy has a pistol and obviously means to kill his subordinate. Although 47, Elliot is in good physical shape and, thanks to skills developed as a Green Beret in Vietnam, easily disarms his assailant. His troubles are just beginning, however, since two would-be assassins block the executive suite's exit. The target dispatches one of the hired guns, eludes the other (a fellow Special Forces vet), and goes to ground in the 50-story Park Avenue high-rise. Realizing he's up against a team of professionals, Elliot hopes to find a clue to his plight in Levy's confidential files. By booby-trapping stairwells and posing other lethal stratagems, the hunted man evades his pursuers long enough to learn part of the truth--namely, that the chance bite of a monkey that had escaped a test lab at a dubious biotech enterprise explains his mortal peril. In aid of germ-warfare research, the agile simian has been purposely infected with deadly tri-phasic microbes that will mutate in a human host who, within 72 hours of an initial contact, could depopulate a great city by the simple act of breathing Before ascertaining that he's doomed, Elliot takes a heavy toll on the squad of hit men by dint of daring and resourceful maneuvers that extend to rappeling down the embattled skyscraper's face on telephone cable. Escapist literature of a high order in the tradition of John Buchan and Geoffrey Household.

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1995
Page count: 320pp
Publisher: Bantam