Friday I finished Michael Crichton’s Grave Descend, reading pages 134-166 (Chapters 14-20). The close of the book was disappointing. It seemed as though Crichton didn’t know how to end it, or perhaps he just got tired of writing and stopped. My overall assessment of Grave Descend is a 7 out of 10.
Friday’s sections had many of the positives of the first 166 pages. The pages turn easily and you’re never bored. Crichton also creates good characters, including a James Bond-style villain.
But I also saw several negatives in the last few pages. Grave Descend is short to a fault; there are few vivid descriptions and the dialogue isn’t engaging. Also, Crichton doesn’t build enough suspense; the ending is “ho hum,” though Crichton does make a semi-successful stab at throwing a surprise into the plot.
(To supplement Grave Descend’s short 166 pages, Hard Case Crime’s version of Grave Descend also includes a long, 35-page preview of Crichton’s novel The Venom Business; I’ve never been a fan of these previews and didn’t read it).
In summary, Grave Descend is good if you grade it on a curve. Compared to most “men’s adventure” novels, it holds up well. But there are areas for improvement.