Tower of power

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The Independent Culture
Gridiron is a futuristic new thriller about a building. Not any old prefab shack, mind, but the smartest building in the world, the Yu Corp building in Los Angeles, whose information, air-conditioning and safety systems are controlled entirely by computer. This being a thriller, of course, the computer gets nasty, trapping a tidy cast of humans inside it and killing them off one by one. Nasty, and particularly disturbing if you happen to work in Canary Wharf. Sounds like a film script already, doesn't it? Well, surprise surprise, its author, Philp Kerr, is already a millionaire from selling the film rights. But the interesting thing is that his novel hasn't gone to Hollywood, but has been snapped up by our very own Working Title, formerly purveyors of marshmallow-flavoured English foppery. Their Four Weddings..., and our success at Cannes this year, have already raised hopes of a revival of the British film industry, but what would really settle the question is a world-class action movie. Which is what Kerr has thoughtfully provided the blueprint for. Gridiron is a cracking mixture of Die Hard, Rising Sun and 2001: a Space Odyssey, with a grizzled homicide cop for a hero, plenty of opportunities for the leading ladies to get their kit off, and enough hardcore technical stuff to persuade your average movie-goer. Kerr is developing into something of a British Michael Crichton, inventing fictional dystopias from cutting- edge scientific developments, and he's well on the way to becoming as rich. There's a lot of money yet in Luddism.

'Gridiron' published by Chatto & Windus on Thur 8 Jun, pounds 14.99

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