Picks and Pans Review: Skyscraper
by Robert Byrne
Brian Mitchell is a Denver-based engineer who is famous for finding out why dams burst and stadiums fall down. He is called in by a New York law firm to investigate why a window dropped from a Manhattan building and sliced a woman in half. (When winds are heavy, all high-rise buildings in Manhattan sway, but this one makes people seasick, and chairs on casters roll freely around the offices.) Lawsuits are filed, and Mitchell is supposed to fix the blame on someone other than the evil owner. But the cracks in the basement are getting wider. Across the street, where another big building is under construction, the man in charge of demolition decides that an extra stick or two of dynamite—just a bit more than is legal—will finish the job. Could a New York skyscraper fall over? What would happen if it did? This born-to-be-filmed novel is a fast-paced recital of political skulduggery, bribery, murder and unthinkable catastrophe. The characters are little more than figures for a cartoon strip, but the technical information is crisply laid out as part of the action (Byrne was once an editor of an engineering trade journal). Skyscraper is a no-nonsense suspense novel with sustained excitement throughout. (Atheneum, $14.95)
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