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Dead Calm (John Ingram #2)

3.7  ·  Rating Details ·  189 Ratings  ·  23 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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Jun 21, 2012 Algernon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2012

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.
8/7 - An impressive knowledge of boat and sailing terms that kind of boggles the mind of a reader who is almost completely clueless about all things nautical. Most of the time I have no idea what action of the boat (or is it a ship?) is being described. For example this sentence:

"He cast off the genoa sheet, carried the sail forward around the stay and outside the starboard shrouds, and trimmed the sheet on the port tack."

I can't visualise what's happening during that sentence, at all. Other tha
Mar 08, 2017 Paul rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: thrillers
Mar 29, 2012 Adrien rated it liked it
Shelves: pulp-crime
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
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.
Benjamin Smith
Dec 01, 2011 Benjamin Smith rated it it was amazing
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
May 09, 2015 Scheherazade rated it really liked it
A book that has withstood the test of time. I enjoyed the story line and tension. The characters acted and reacted in real ways, my favourite being Ingram. This is the sequel to Aground. Ingram is not your average hero, he doesn't always win and that makes him human and believable. The film made of this book was changed in order to get shock value but they needn't have bothered, the book provides a really good yarn.
Trent Zelazny
Nov 13, 2013 Trent Zelazny rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Carla Remy
Jan 04, 2016 Carla Remy rated it it was amazing
Breathtaking suspense, integral to the well structured plot. So much good momentum I choose to ignore the awkward mid chapter perspective shifts and other mild flaws.
Tension-filled opening dissolves into Grade B dialogue.
Mar 12, 2017 Paul rated it really liked it
Roger Brunyate
May 17, 2016 Roger Brunyate rated it really liked it
Shelves: mysteries-kinda
Survival at Sea

his reissue of a novel from 1963 caught me entirely by surprise. It was an impulse buy; I picked it up mistaking it for a mystery, as it says on the cover. But no, it is a genre I normally avoid: a psychological thriller. More than that, it is set entirely upon a small yacht—two yachts, actually—in the middle of the Pacific. If I tell you how much I hate the small-boat world after suffering under the captaincy of the tyrant who I once thought would be my father-in-law, it says a l
Charlie Avocado
Feb 19, 2012 Charlie Avocado rated it it was amazing
Better than the movie, but only because of a larger cast of characters. I still really love the movie!!!
Nov 10, 2012 Jennifer rated it really liked it
As always, the book is much better than the movie!
Jun 27, 2012 Dzbtrout rated it it was amazing

Ah! Lovely maritime pulp! Great details and really nice language. Loved it. Much better than the movie and I did like the movie.
Aug 30, 2009 Michael rated it it was amazing
i read this when the film came out,and thought it very good.unputdownable.
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!
Andy Smith
Mar 27, 2013 Andy Smith rated it really liked it
Five for the writing and three for the story. Bit too "unbelievable".
Feb 12, 2013 Michael rated it really liked it
Superior thriller, taut, as they say. Avoids a lot of the cliches of the genre.
Duncan McCurdie
Jul 16, 2016 Duncan McCurdie rated it it was amazing
Fantastic thriller. A must read for genre fans.
Jeff rated it really liked it
Jul 01, 2007
Charles rated it it was amazing
Oct 30, 2012
Todd Yeager
Todd Yeager rated it liked it
Sep 22, 2016
Mark rated it really liked it
Feb 17, 2017
D rated it really liked it
Dec 15, 2016
Victoria Kear
Victoria Kear rated it liked it
Feb 21, 2015
Shannon Minson
Shannon Minson rated it liked it
Jul 15, 2014
Y-alex rated it liked it
Jan 14, 2013
Colin rated it really liked it
Oct 02, 2008
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Goodreads Librari...: Create series for Aground/Dead Calm 6 21 Sep 15, 2016 08:09AM  
  • Cassidy's Girl
  • The Black Curtain
  • Soft Touch
  • Little Caesar
  • I Should Have Stayed Home
  • Cockfighter
  • The Mike Hammer Collection, Volume II
  • Love's Lovely Counterfeit
  • The Far Cry
  • Heed the Thunder
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
More about Charles Williams...

Other Books in the Series

John Ingram (2 books)
  • Aground (John Ingram #1)

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