Tuesday, July 03, 2007
I understand that the author, Mitchell Graham, recently switched from fantasy to this first attempt at a thriller. With Majestic Descending, he definitely made a successful switch. Graham does an outstanding job developing characters the reader grows to care about, and places them in a situation that sounds all too plausible in today's world.
Katherine Adams is an Atlanta attorney whose life since she was in college has been in turmoil. She was the lone survivor of a serial killer, and it continues to haunt her. That crisis may have been one of the reasons for her tumultuous divorce. She's now a lawyer in private practice who handles domestic relations cases. And, she's ready for a vacation when her best friend, Beth Doliver asks her to go on a cruise.
Professor Ellis Stephens is also on the Ocean Majestic cruise ship. He's just made a medical breakthrough that will have companies begging for his work. The Dean of his Department at Columbia encouraged him to take the trip after his discovery.
One other person on the cruise is John Delaney, a lawyer who is a former cop, and a professor at John Jay College.
These four people come together at dinner on the cruise ship, and Katherine is immediately attracted to Delaney. They're just starting to get to know each other, when explosions rock the ship, and passengers and crew are forced to abandon ship. But, Katherine went looking for Professor Stephens and found him shot dead in his cabin. It's only in the lifeboat that she recognizes the man she saw arguing with Stephens.
When Katherine and Delaney turn their information over to authorities, they think they're done with the disaster. However, it's not long before Katherine becomes a target, and neither of them understand why. Delaney says, "It's not enough a guy at our table gets murdered, we nearly burn to death on a cruise ship, and miss drowning by the skin of our teeth, now a phantom shows up and tries to kill you."
Graham created interesting characters and a thrilling plot. Majestic Descending also includes compelling trial scenes. Explosions, murder, court trials and a little romance. What more does a reader want?
Mitchell Graham's website is www.mitchellgraham.net
Majestic Descending by Mitchell Graham. Forge Books, ©2007. ISBN 978-0-765-31812-1 (hardcover), 352p.