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Dead Calm

3.8 of 5 stars 3.80  ·  rating details  ·  116 ratings  ·  14 reviews
John and Rae Ingram are alone on their honeymoon yacht in the Pacific, becalmed. It shoud be idyllic. . .but it's not.

On the near horizon a ship is sinking. They rescue its lone passenger, a young man who claims he buried his wife and another couple, dead from food poisoning. But suspicion gnaws at Ingram, a suspicion only too soon justified. Soon Ingram and his wife are n
Paperback, 188 pages
Published January 1st 1983 by HarperCollins Publishers (first published 1963)
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I discovered this book by checking out the credits for the 1989 movie of the same name. While the movie was OK in a pulpy horror clicheed way and memorable only for the occasional glimpse of Nicole Kidman in deshabille, I remembered the claustrophobic menace of being stranded on a very small ship in the company of a madman. The original novel has this tension in spades, and as a bonus I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the writing and the careful exploration of character motivations.

David Baldwin
A superior thriller--the first 50 pages really crackle. Some of the later psychologizing is a bit dodgy, but my only real complaint is that the malevolent gods prevented Orson Welles from finishing his film adaptation of the book. The movie with Zane and Kidman is kind of a joke.
Ingram is an able bodied seaman with a mind that works well under pressure, but he made one mistake: he left his newly wed wife alone, on their sailboat, in the middle of the Pacific ocean, with a maniac!

Can you say "Whoops!"?

Just realized this a sequel to Aground, the book in which Rae and Ingram meet. Haven't read that one yet. This book has a great beginning (I thought it was going to be like Polanski's A knife in the Water, but it goes in a different direction) that it doesn't quite live up
Benjamin Smith
The inspiration for an interesting film starring Sam Neal and a young Nicole Kidman, this book came to me years after I'd seen the movie and I was fortunate enough not to make the connection until the climactic scene.

A brilliant book with only three characters and a cat and mouse survival feel that gives you shivers. What a shame this author died before his time. He was under appreciated in his day and I'm only sad he didn't live a few more decades and deliver more books with this much force and
Alan Livingston
The first third of this tale of madness upon the wide-open and still Pacific was five-star. It slowed dramatically for me -- part of that was Williams' purpose for effect, I'm sure -- in a drone of monotonous psycho-analysis. As other reviewers note, there's a ton of nautical yachting jargon throughout. I found much of it both interesting and entertaining, but then came times when it created a hindrance to the read. A good and original story. I'll continue to read more books of Charles Williams.
Trent Zelazny
This really is a five-star book and I should probably rate it such. My one and only issue was the boat lingo, and I know absolutely nothing about boats, being a desert rat. 'Course, you figure it out as you go, and it took nothing away from the story, which was fantastic. Quite different from the movie, if you've ever seen it.
Irmak Ertuna-howison
well-drawn characters yet the narrative is kind of awkward with constant summaries of what had happened.also beware of the yachting lingo!

Ah! Lovely maritime pulp! Great details and really nice language. Loved it. Much better than the movie and I did like the movie.
Anna A
Better than the movie, but only because of a larger cast of characters. I still really love the movie!!!
Superior thriller, taut, as they say. Avoids a lot of the cliches of the genre.
i read this when the film came out,and thought it very good.unputdownable.
Andy Smith
Five for the writing and three for the story. Bit too "unbelievable".
As always, the book is much better than the movie!
Rissa Yullita
cerita thriller yg bikin merinding..
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Charles Williams (1909–1975) was one of the preeminent authors of American crime fiction. Born in Texas, he dropped out of high school to enlist in the US Merchant Marine, serving for ten years before leaving to work in the electronics industry. At the end of World War II, Williams began writing fiction while living in San Francisco. The success of his backwoods noir Hill Girl (1951) allowed him t ...more
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