cover image Grave Descend

Grave Descend

Michael Crichton. Hard Case Crime, $9.95 trade paper (208p) ISBN 978-1-78329-124-3

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.)