Grave Descend

Overview

SOMETHING’S GOING DOWN OFF THE COAST OF JAMAICA

Diver James McGregor is used to being hired to explore sunken ships. But there’s something strange about the wreck of the luxury yacht Grave Descend. No one who was aboard tells quite the same story about what happened. Then there’s the matter of the mysterious cargo they were carrying…

In one of the most beautiful places on Earth, a sinister plot is about to ...

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Grave Descend: A Novel

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Overview

SOMETHING’S GOING DOWN OFF THE COAST OF JAMAICA

Diver James McGregor is used to being hired to explore sunken ships. But there’s something strange about the wreck of the luxury yacht Grave Descend. No one who was aboard tells quite the same story about what happened. Then there’s the matter of the mysterious cargo they were carrying…

In one of the most beautiful places on Earth, a sinister plot is about to unfold. And if McGregor’s not careful, he may find himself in over his head.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
03/10/2014
The storytelling skills Crichton brought to classic thrillers like Jurassic Park and The Great Train Robbery are evident in this suspense novel penned under his John Lange pseudonym. Expert diver James McGregor, an American expat, has steady work and a comfortable life in Kingston, Jamaica, until he's offered a job that seems hinky from the start. Arthur Wayne, a marine insurance representative who seems unfamiliar with the basics of his job, wants McGregor to help with an unusual salvage assignment. Just the day before, the yacht, Grave Descend, went down after an explosion, an incident that somehow has been kept secret. He offers McGregor any pay within reason to dive to the wreck to determine the source of the explosion and whether the ship can be recovered. McGregor is suspicious of Wayne's intentions when he schemes to sink another vessel to make the accident appear to have occurred a day later. McGregor's suspicions heighten when he gets an anonymous call warning the diver that he's being played. This escapist page-turner may not linger long in the memory, but it meets its modest goals. (Oct.)
From the Publisher
"It's very intriguing, and like the other Lange books, would make for a fantastic movie." - Trash Mutant

"A must-read for Crichton fans" - Fiction Addict 

"Crichton was able to keep the hook baited and still managed to throw in a few surprises at the end." - Pop Cults 

"...very entertaining...a fine example of Crichton's innate story-telling ability." - Irresistible Targets

"Great delight to Crichton fans who are still mourning his 2008 passing." Geek Girl Project

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780857683441
  • Publisher: Titan
  • Publication date: 3/29/2011
  • Series: Hard Case Crime
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 203
  • Product dimensions: 4.10 (w) x 6.70 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

John Lange is the author of numerous popular thrillers including Binary, Zero Cool, Odds On, Scratch One, Easy Go, Drug of Choice, and The Venom Business. He received an Edgar Award nomination from the Mystery Writers of America for Grave Descend for best paperback novel of the year.

Biography

Michael Crichton's oeuvre is so vivid and varied that it hard to believe everything sprang from the mind of a single writer. There's the dino-movie franchise and merchandising behemoth Jurassic Park; the long-running, top-rated TV series ER, which Crichton created; and sci-fi tales so cinematic a few were filmed more than once. He's even had a dinosaur named after him.

Ironically, for someone who is credited with selling over 150 million books, Crichton initially avoided writing because he didn't think he would make a living at it. So he turned to medical school instead, graduating with an M.D. from Harvard in 1969. The budding doctor had already written one award-winning novel pseudonymically (1968's A Case of Need) to help pay the bills through school; but when The Andromeda Strain came out in the same year of his med school graduation, Crichton's new career path became obvious.

The Andromeda Strain brilliantly and convincingly sets out an American scientific crisis in the form of a deadly epidemic. Its tone -- both critical of and sympathetic toward the scientific community -- set a precedent for Crichton works to come. A 1970 nonfiction work, Five Patients offers the same tone in a very different form, that being an inside look at a hospital.

Crichton's works were inspired by a remarkably curious mind. His plots often explored scientific issues -- but not always. Some of his most compelling thrillers were set against the backdrop of global trade relations (Rising Sun), corporate treachery (Disclosure) and good old-fashioned Victorian-era theft (The Great Train Robbery). The author never shied away from challenging topics, but it's obvious from his phenomenal sales that he never waxed pedantic. Writing about Prey, Crichton's cautionary tale of nanotech gone awry, The New York Times Book Review put it this way: "You're entertained on one level and you learn something on another."

On the page, Crichton's storytelling was eerily nonfictional in style. His journalistic, almost professorial, and usually third-person narration lent an air of credibility to his often disturbing tales -- in The Andromeda Strain, he went so far as to provide a fake bibliography. Along the way, he revelled in flouting basic, often subconscious assumptions: Dinosaurs are long-gone; women are workplace victims, not predators; computers are, by and large, predictable machines.

The dazzling diversity of Crichton's interests and talents became ever more evident as the years progressed. In addition to penning bestselling novels, he wrote screenplays and a travel memoir, directed several movies, created Academy Award-winning movie production software, and testified before Congress about the science of global warming -- this last as a result of his controversial 2004 eco-thriller State of Fear, a novel that reflected Crichton's own skepticism about the true nature of climate change. His views on the subject were severely criticized by leading environmentalists.

On November 4, 2008, Michael Crichton died, following a long battle against cancer. Beloved by millions of readers, his techno-thrillers and science-inflected cautionary tales remain perennial bestsellers and have spawned a literary genre all its own.

Good To Know

Some interesting outtakes from our 2005 interview with Crichton:

"I'm very interested in 20th-century American art."

"I have always been interested in movies and television as well as books. I see all these as media for storytelling, and I don't discriminate among them. At some periods of my life I preferred to work on movies, and at others I preferred books."

"In the early 1990s, interviewers began calling me ‘the father of the techno-thriller.' Nobody ever had before. Finally I began asking the interviewers, ‘Why do you call me that?' They said, ‘Because Tom Clancy says you are the father of the techno-thriller.' So I called Tom up and said, ‘Listen, thank you, but I'm not the father of the techno-thriller.' He said, ‘Yes you are.' I said, ‘No, I'm not, before me there were thrillers like Failsafe and Seven Days in May and The Manchurian Candidate that were techno-thrillers.' He said, ‘No, those are all political. You're the father of the techno-thriller.' And there it ended."

"My favorite recreation is to hike in the wilderness. I am fond of Hawaii."

"I used to scuba dive a lot, but haven't lately. For a time I liked to photograph sharks but like anything else, the thrill wears off. Earlier in my life I took serious risks, but I stopped when I became a parent."

"I taught myself to cook by following Indian and Szechuan recipes. They each have about 20 ingredients. I used to grind my own spices, I was really into it. Now I don't have much time to cook anymore. When I do, I cook Italian food."

"I read almost exclusively nonfiction. Most times I am researching some topic, which may or may not lead to a book. So my reading is pretty focused, although the focus can shift quickly."

"I have always been interested in whatever is missing or excluded from conventional thought. As a result I am drawn to writers who are out of fashion, bypassed, irritating, difficult, or excessive. I also like the disreputable works of famous writers. Thus I end up reading and liking Paul Feyerabend (Against Method), G. K. Chesterton (Orthodoxy, What's Wrong with the World), John Stuart Mill, Hemingway (Garden of Eden), Nietzsche, Machiavelli, Alain Finkielkraut (Defeat of the Mind), Anton Ehrenzweig (Hidden Order of Art), Arthur Koestler (Midwife Toad, Beyond Reductionism), Ian McHarg (Design with Nature), Marguerite Duras, Jung, late James M. Cain (Serenade), Paul Campos.

"Because I get up so early to work, I tend to go to bed early, around 10 or 11. So I don't go out much. I suppose I am borderline reclusive. I don't care."

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    1. Also Known As:
      John Michael Crichton (full name), Jeffery Hudson, John Lange
    2. Hometown:
      Los Angeles, California
    1. Date of Birth:
      October 23, 1942
    2. Place of Birth:
      Chicago, Illinois
    1. Date of Death:
      November 4, 2008
    2. Place of Death:
      Los Angeles, California

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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 5, 2008

    Med-School Era Crichton

    Those familiar with Michael Crichton probably already know 'especially if you've read Travels' that Crichton wrote fiction under pseudonyms while in Harvard Medical School, and upon graduating decided to become an author instead of a doctor. Genetically-engineered dinosaurs everywhere are grateful, I suppose. Grave Descend represents one of Crichton's later efforts in medical school, and has been recently reprinted. It's interesting to see Crichton's early work, before he became fascinated with research as a substitute for characters and plot. Not that the plot here is much better in fact, the entire book is woefully cliche. Most of the twists are obvious, the characters are two-dimensional 'not much has changed for Crichton over the years' and the descriptive prose is completely inadequate. Grave Descend does have plenty of action going for it, along with a quick pace that makes it easy to read and mildly captivating in spite of it's flaws. Crichton fans may enjoy this, but mystery fans can do far better elsewhere.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 13, 2007

    Grave Descend

    The best thing that can be said about Lange's Grave Descend is that it moves swiftly. Beyond that, I would be hard pressed to come up with anything else. I've read several of the Hard Case novels, and Grave Descend features some of the weakest characters yet- derivative and uninspired. Lange has little talent or patience for description, and is content to TELL rather than SHOW. You know you're in trouble when after 100+ pages there is suddenly a Mafia/Nazi angle to the story...

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 11, 2009

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