Wednesday, January 17, 2007


Grave Descent
by John Lange
Hard Case Crime
203 pages

I love hard hitting crime thrillers that read easy. You pick up the book, begin flipping pages and before you know it you are half way through it. Such is the case with this thriller from 1970. It is another one of those long lost nuggets that Hard Case Crime is so good at finding.

Off the shores of a tropical Caribbean island, a million dollar luxury yatch, Grave Descent, has gone down in sixty feet of crystal blue, shark-infested waters. The owners, a wealthy family from up north, hire salvage diver James McGregor to retrieve several items from the wreck and ascertain if she can be raised.

But McGregor has been around the block a few times and everything about the ship and its fate just doesn’t add up. The more he gets involved, the more his strong sense of survival begins warning him that he is being played for a patsy. There is something aboard Grave Descent that may just get him killed…after he finds it.

The local color of the setting, the economically lean narrative and the characters are handled just right. Enough so that I read it fast, liked what a read a great deal and will be on the look out for more mysteries by Mr.Lange. If the cold winter blues have got you down, pick this island caper up and enjoy the heat.


Bill Spangler said...

This may be common knowledge, but I believe John Lange is a pseudonym that Michael Crichton used early in his career. I first read this several years ago, and have been meaning to doublecheck it since I heard that "Grave Descend" was going to be reprinted. Here's what I've found so far:
-- Crichton's entry in Wikipedia lists the Lange pseudonym and says he wrote seven books under that name.
-- The new edition of "Grave Descend" is copyrighted Constant C Productions, the company that produces Crichton's ER.

Ron Fortier said...

Wow, very cool information, Bill. I wasn't aware of any of that. Although if this is true, I know why I enjoyed the storytelling so much. But again, if this is really Crichton, his writing has truly evolved over the years.

Bobby Nash said...

Wow. Learn something new every day. I love Crichton's work. Will definitely have to check this out.


Glen Davis said...

The main thing that jumped out at me was that this middle aged dive bum really though he merited a Miss Morocco or whatever.

Talk about your hubris.