Vertical by Cody Goodfellow
|Vertical by Cody Goodfellow|
|Reviewer: Stephen Leach|
|Summary: Michael Foster was once a member of the infamous Les Furies crew - a team that scaled buildings and broke into places no-one else could. Years later, Michael is stuck in a different life, reflecting on his former adventures and the rush nothing else can bring him. So when his old teammates seek him out to tell him they're planning one last jaunt up the world's tallest building, it's an opportunity he can't resist.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Maybe|
|Pages: 336||Date: September 2023|
|Publisher: Titan Books|
|External links: Author's website|
There's something about tall buildings that just captures my imagination. Who doesn't love a good view from up high, after all? Even the drabbest office building is somewhere I'm intrigued to get inside if it's 40 stories tall. So when I picked up this book – about people who scale tall buildings for fun – I was instantly intrigued.
Michael, the protagonist of Vertical, used to live for that thrill before an injury forced him to leave that life behind. Stuck in a rut and stubbornly refusing to accept his body's infirmity, it's evident that the desire is still there. There's more than a touch of the retired-veteran-wanting-one-last-thrill about him, and when one day Cam and Maddie – old friends from his climbing group – turn up in his life again, it's not long before he's drawn back into his old ways.
The soon-to-be tallest building in the world – the Korova Tower in Moscow – is their goal, and the book follows a seemingly separate plot strand as well, focusing on the people inside the tower. Why this is necessary is something that slowly becomes clear as events progress – as is the interplay between Michael, Cam, and Maddie. You wonder why it's happening now: why they've chosen this as their moment to get the band back together. Very soon, it becomes apparent that there's more going on than we're initially being told.
The trio's journey up the tower is a gruelling one, and Goodfellow doesn't pull punches when it comes to the action involved. For all that it seems like theirs is an exhilarating hobby, it's described in all the bone-crunching, physically straining ways you'd imagine, and it does not sound remotely pleasant. This is not for anyone faint of heart - or limb. And even if some of the characters do feel a little broadly drawn, they're still interesting enough to make you want to keep following along. But it didn't take me long to be utterly suckered in. Almost as much as they did, I was keen to see them succeed and get to the top.
That said, ultimately I found that I was more invested in the journey itself rather than the characters. They're engaging enough, but at times begin to feel slightly flat; more tools for the plot to happen rather than people I believed in. Vertical is written in a plain but somewhat detached style, which had the effect of making me feel somewhat at a distance from events. This isn't helped by the fact that the chapters are almost frustratingly short at times – I often found myself wanting things to build more, to have the action unfold and give me more time to take it in. But the book's climax is well-structured and things end satisfyingly enough.
This isn't a hugely groundbreaking read, but it's solid and enjoyable if you're into action-driven thrillers.
You can read more book reviews or buy Vertical by Cody Goodfellow at Amazon.co.uk Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
You can read more book reviews or buy Vertical by Cody Goodfellow at Amazon.com.
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