Sunday, July 1, 2007

Majestic Descending

Majestic Descending
By Mitchell Graham
St. Martin's Press
Reviewed by BadgerDaddy

Some books scream "Take me on holiday! I won't let you down!" Well, Majestic Descending does just that – unless you're going on a cruise, that is.

Atlanta attorney Katherin Adams is cruising on the Ocean Majestic liner with her bezza mate, and she meets a very nice man, they become friends, she has trust issues, they snog, blah blah blah… In the meantime, a scientist has solved problems linked with stem cell reproduction that could see untold medical advances and help all mankind. Of course, they're on the same boat, and some unscrupulous characters are after the good doctor's work, and they're willing to do anything to get it. Anything at all.

Katherine travels from cruise ship to Europe and back to the States for a showdown to uncover who is behind the professor's murder, as she digs deep to find the bad guys – and save her own life.

Majestic Descending genuinely surprised me in places, and above everything it's a lot of fun. It's not much apart from a lot of fun, but that's not a bad thing. The author has an eye for pace, and his dialogue's not too shabby either. There is an occasional lack of detail, or a key event hinges on some very flimsy evidence or turn of phrase and you're almost lost as a reader, but he just about keeps the runaway train that is Majestic Descending on track.

For an action-based thriller, the main character is surprisingly well-drawn and with a strong woman leading the line, this should appeal comfortably to both sexes and all inbetween.

This is a book you'll likely see everywhere on your daily commute, it has that kind of broad appeal and it's an easy and pleasurable read. Like many action thrillers though, you get the feeling that it's eminently filmable, almost as is; if any producers are thinking about that, please note what I'm about to write: Poseidon and Speed 2.

Just don't.

Mitchell Graham clearly has some talent as, for all their simplicity, these books are tough to write and Dan Brown for one could learn a thing or two from Graham's peak-and-trough plotting; so many post-Da Vinci Code books have gone for the same kind of incessant peak-peak-peak action/cliffhanger approach. Graham has the confidence and skill to bring us to the edge of excitement, then ease off and the plunge us over the edge three chapters later. Majestic Descending is a damn fine summer read – but get it before the nights draw in…


Anonymous said...

As an assistant librarians here in Portland my interest became peaked by the number of people checking this book out or asking for it, thus I located a copy and began to browse.

To say the least, I was throughly imnpressed. Mitchell Graham is a writer of immense talent and I completly agree with the previous post that suggested the story would make a great movie. It would.

The action just keeps coming and coming at a breakneck pace, but with enough rests to let the reader catch his or her breath and a cup of coffee before plunging back in.

I think this book that will appeal to men and women alike. The characters are strong, likable and will stay with you long after you've turned the last page.

So I'm sold. Pencil me in as a fan. This is one of the best mysteries to come down the road in a long, long time. And you can take that to the back from your friendly librarian!


Anonymous said...

Totally agree. I loved this book! When you get into it, you don't want to fool with the kids; schmooze with the neighbors, or take the dog for a walk. You're stuck.

What a great read!

Sarah S.

Anonymous said...

Personally, I really enjoyed having a heroine and hero who aren't twenty-five. Katherine and John are in their early forties, likable, fun, and as tough as nails. The plot has a sinister feel that draws you in and pulls you along even when you put it down for the night. I found myself getting out of bed to read what happens next.

I give this book five stars. Run out an get a copy, because Graham is just going to get stronger and stronger.

Paul Kohler

badgerdaddy said...

Yep, it's definitely the best thriller I've read this year. I'm curious as to how he'll follow it...

Anonymous said...

This is definitely among the top five thrillers on my list. Great job on the review!