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Grave Descend (Hard Case Crime #26)

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3.42 of 5 stars 3.42  ·  rating details  ·  351 ratings  ·  55 reviews
The Barnes & Noble Review
Fans of Michael Crichton who are certain that they've read every single one of the prolific writer's masterworks (The Great Train Robbery, Sphere, Jurassic Park, Disclosure, et al.) may have overlooked one: Grave Descend. Written while Crichton was attending Harvard Medical School and published in 1970 under the pseudonym John Lange, this brill
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Mass Market Paperback, 203 pages
Published October 31st 2006 by Hard Crime Case (first published April 1970)
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Dan 1.0
James McGregor gets hired to investigate a sunken yacht. Only he finds out that the yacht hasn't been sunken yet and everyone is lying to him. Throw in diamond smuggling and hammerhead sharks and that's pretty much it.

Grave Descend is a lighting quick read, full of action and intrigue, just what you'd expect from a Hard Case read. But it's a little too breezy. The print is larger than any Hard Case I've yet encountered and it was probably about 150 pages long when it was first published.

John Lan
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Thomas
The first half is taut and sharp as a tack, but it gradually unravels and loses focus as the story progresses. By the end it reads like a James Bond movie -- a bad one. The cliches start to bloat and the bad guy is described as "chuckling" nearly every time he speaks. Too many characters crowd into the book and by the finale it's like watching mice in a cage. But it started out so well, and the Samuel Johnson references are fun.
Josh
James McGregor is a professional diver hired to recover some important items aboard a sunken yacht off the coast of Kingston by the wealthy and secretive Arthur Wayne. The job looks to be an easy pay off until McGregor discovers the yacht he’s to investigate hasn’t sunk yet.

GRAVE DESCEND is a solid, ever-twisting detective tale reminiscent of the dime-store pulps. The plot is engaging and accommodates the ever changing face of evil perfectly. With McGregor knowing full well the dive may be his
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David
Midway through this book, I thought I would give it four stars. The first act is top-notch. A professional diver named McGregor is hired to investigate a recently sunken ship, the Grave Descend, but the more McGregor learns, the clearer it becomes that he is being manipulated in some kind of convoluted scam.

As I finished the book, my rating was down to three stars. As crime novels often do, this book demonstrates that it is easier to tie a knot than to untie one; indeed, in the final analysis, a
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Brian
The feminist take: Three women. One is deceitful, one is a whore, and the third is a hot-tempered Latina.

The Jamaican perspective: White mon too good, da black mon do all the killing.

The male Anglo view: Good, fast-paced crime thriller.

Well, reasonably good. It's about a diver who is hired to salvage a ship which, he discovers, hasn't sunk yet. It was nominated for an Edgar Award in the Paperback Original category, and it delivers on that level. Before it's all over John Lange (i.e., Michael Cri
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Cheryl
James McGregor is a diver. He is the best at what he does. This is why when a multimillon dollar ship sinks, James is the go to man. The mission is simple...dive down to the site of the sunken ship and figure out why it sunk. However nothing is as simple as it seems at first glance. What is the ship owner hiding?James will have to hope that he gets out alive and not be turned into shark bait.

I flew through this book. It reminded me of the old, classic mystery stories that I grew up reading that
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Joe
I have to say I miss Michael Crichton. I had no idea that early in his writing career he penned works under the name of John Lange. This is a great find. Michael definitely has a way with words and knows how to tell an exciting story. This is a short read but I found it to be very entertaining. As always, his stories grab you and pull you in as though you are part of the story itself. I'm looking forward to my next John Lange book and the ones to be published in the near future. So happy to find ...more
Colin Barnes
I didn't enjoy this as much as Easy Go, but for a dime novel adventure it was fun enough. These Crichton/Lange books are kind if guilty pleasures. They're not high on literary skill, but neither are they hideous to read. They're just fast paced, cliched adventures where the guy gets the girl and the spoils while outsmarting the bad guys. For entertainment purposes I'd much rather spend 2-3 hours reading one of these than watching the crap on the tv or whatever Hollywood is serving up. Good escap ...more
David Merrill
I read this book in less than 24 hours. It's only 150 pages long. When Michael Crichton died, I'd already read most of his books. He was my go to writer if I was looking for a quick read that would keep me engaged. He was always the perfect choice when I couldn't decide what to read next. Sort of a palate cleanser, because his books didn't take long to read, so I wouldn't be in them for long. It was great to find Hard Case Crime had published 8 novels he wrote as John Lange while he was in med s ...more
Ethan
"Grave Descend" evokes the Roger Moore-Era James Bond films : fun, thrilling, and a dose of silliness. However those movies came out in a time when most action movies could be described the same; Michael Crichton's adventure novel instead is a welcome throwback, an anachronism of storytelling that makes me long for a time when books and movies took it all a little less seriously. (And we're considerably shorter; at 166 pages the novel can be read in a long day or spread lazily or a couple evenin ...more
Jahnn Alexis
This is a short book, something a fourteen-year-old could latch onto, understand, and complete without difficulty. Michael Crichton is writing as John Lange and describing what happens when a seedy guy from Jamaica is hired to dive for a sunken ship. It has all the excitement you would expect from a story revolving around the ocean. Hence, however, it's a tad predictable for experienced/older readers, but still fun to see how it all "goes down" (hahahaha--ahem--excuse my horrible puns). Every ch ...more
Tim Potter
This novel originally appeared in 1970 and lacks any scientific forethought, nor does it contain any plot elements that would factor into later novels, as many of his earliest works do. That doesn’t detract from the entertainment value of this action-adventure tale set in the fictional Ochos Rios, in the Bahamian part of the world. The beautiful backdrop serves as the setting to a tale of sunken treasure and a life and death attempt to control the treasure. The awkward wording of the title is ea ...more
George
"Πλωτό φέρετρο", εκδόσεις Άγκυρα.

Συγγραφέας δεν είναι άλλος από τον Μάικλ Κράιτον, που όταν σπούδαζε ιατρική στο Χάρβαρντ βρήκε τον χρόνο να γράψει και κάποια σύντομα παλπ αστυνομικά μυθιστορήματα με το ψευδώνυμο Τζον Λαντζ (John Lange). Συνολικά έγραψε οχτώ τέτοια μυθιστορήματα με αυτό το ψευδώνυμο και τα οχτώ κυκλοφορούν στις ΗΠΑ στην πολύ ενδιαφέρουσα σειρά αστυνομικών Hard Case Crime. Πιστεύω ότι το Πλωτό φέρετρο (Grave Descent) είναι το μοναδικό από αυτά τα βιβλία που μεταφράστηκε στα ελλην
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Samantha
May 24, 2012 Samantha rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Hard Case Crime Readers, Readers who need a quick, but satisfying snack
Review found on: The Real World According To Sam

I picked up this book knowing only that it involved crime and was written under one of Michael Crichton's pseudonyms. Keeping that in mind, this book was surprisingly good. Not extremely original, but still entertaining. It had a decent criminal, who reached the level of evil desired for this story. There were many twists and turns, always something new being added to the mystery. The thing I loved most was that I couldn't put all the pieces togeth
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Chris
So, John Lange. It’s the pseudonym of a somewhat famous author, back before he struck it big and really came into his own. I’m not going to give it away; a quick Google will do that for you if you’re really curious. (In part because knowing the real name meant I made unavoidable comparisons to the author’s better, later works.) Hard Case Crime reprinted two of John Lange’s novels—I think there were five, all told—roaring thrillers from the late ’60s, early ’70s.

Grave Descend starts with James Mc
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Andrew
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jeff Raymond
I was a freak of nature of sorts growing up. I learned how to read before I was three years old, and I was reading books for "adults" by the time I hit third or fourth grade. While the first true "adult" book I read was The Sword of Shannara by Terry Brooks, the first mainstream adult fiction I read was actually Michael Crichton's Jurassic Park. Right around when the movie came out, I became a full-on Crichton addict, tearing through pretty much everything he had under his name (yes, that includ ...more
Bill
Hard Case Crime is reissuing several early Michael Crichton novels written under the pseudonym John Lange. (Well, they have already reissued them once, but now they're doing it again with Crichton's name attached). This one was apparently nominated for an Edgar Award.

This one is set in Jamaica. Diver James McGregor is approached for a salvage operation, but his suspicions are aroused because none of the details make any sense. What follows is a complicated game of misdirection. (I half suspect t
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Harding Young
Probably the best thing I can say about this book is that it would be a nice poolside or beachfront companion for an afternoon, whilst sipping rum collinses. Certainly there is a nice mystery plotted and the pacing is sharp. But I found the characters were poorly drawn, lacked motivation and originality. Also, there are major holes in the plot and the writing, generally, lacks any punch. It's kind of what I would expect from a medical student dabbling with the genre on the side.
Chris
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Rob Smith
'Grave Descend' is a pat and tidy story that's very easy to read. The characters are well defined and the setting is simply explained. As a short the story is there are even a couple twisted in.

If you are looking for and easy, breezy story to while the time away, this is for you.

Bottom line: I recommend this book.
Glen
A fine thriller by Michael Crichton.

A diver is hired to find a sunken yacht, only to find that nothing is as it seems.

There's quite a bit of suspense, and like some of these other early Crichton books, nobody knows what is going on until the last.

Pretty good.
Tom
A funny thing to note: Of these 8 Michael Crichton reprints, Gregory Manchess did the cover art for 4 of them: Grave Descend, Drug of Choice, The Venom Business, Zero Cool.
If you look closely at the cover of Zero Cool, the woman on the beach is reading a book --- and it's Grave Descend!

Alex
It really pains me to give this 2 stars, but this was not a very good book.

John Lange is a pseudonym for Michael Crichton, one of my favorite authors of all time. I'm always sad that Crichton isn't around to give us any more stories, so finding out about the books he published as Lange was the best-case scenario for me - I couldn't wait to track down his more obscure work!

This started off very strong when a ship sinks but the details don't add up. About halfway through, though, it suddenly went
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Scott
Let me start by saying - this book is what it is and doesn't try to be anything else - it's a mystery/thriller/action book from 1970 when Michael Crichton was in Med School. He's not trying to change the world. The book has no greater meaning. There is nothing about the human condition.
(you get my point)
What it is - fast read, interesting read, great characters, crooks, Mafia, double crosses and just really really hard to put down.

I actually bought it because I really enjoy the Hard Case Crime p
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MacKenzie Hill
Great vacation book, read it by the pool in 1 day. Page turner, not too much thought involved and fun to read young Crichton.

Also: Jamaica, Crocodiles and Sharks... I'm in.
Jeff J.
An early novel by Michael Crichton, writing as John Lange. Set in Jamaica, it starts as a routine shipwreck exploration story but complications quickly ensue.
Derek Ambrose
Another fun ride through a Crichton John Lange novel. Grave Descend reads almost like a James Bond adventure. It even has an evil mastermind with two ocelot guardians. Good mystery.
Jeff Powers
A slow building, rather uninteresting tale. I now understand why Crichton never republished these stories during his life time. It is far from the better plotted and well charactered summer page-turners he was later known for.
Nikki Williamson
I just found out that Michael Crichton wrote this. Baffled! But thoroughly enjoyed it during a lazy Saturday.
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John Lange is a pseudonym of author Michael Crichton. His pen name was selected as reference to his above-average height of 6' 9"(2.06 meters). Lange means "tall one" in German, Danish and Dutch.
More about John Lange...
Binary (Hard Case Crime MC8) Zero Cool (Hard Case Crime #41) Easy Go (Hard Case Crime MC3) Drug of Choice (Hard Case Crime MC6) Scratch One (Hard Case Crime MC2)

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