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Mayday. by Nelson DeMille

Mayday. (original 1979; edition 1998)

by Nelson DeMille, Thomas H. Block, Nelson de Mille, Nelson DeMille (Author), Thomas H. Block (Author)1 more, Nelson de Mille (Author)

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7061320,281 (3.77)7
Authors:Nelson DeMille
Other authors:Thomas H. Block, Nelson de Mille, Nelson DeMille (Author), Thomas H. Block (Author), Nelson de Mille (Author)
Info:Goldmann (1998), Taschenbuch, 376 pages
Collections:Your library

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Mayday by Nelson DeMille (1979)


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Showing 1-5 of 13 (next | show all)
Mayday was originally written back in 1979 and was a pretty substantial hit, twenty odd years later it's now been updated to (more) modern standards giving it a contemporary feel which doesn't feel at all dated.

The essence of the story is that a supersonic aircraft is rerouted due to weather through a military testing area, the military commander on scene is pressed for time and chooses to press ahead with his missile test without checking for civilian aircraft conflicts. The end result is a kinetic missile punches through the side of the 302 passenger supersonic aircraft causing catastrophic depressurisation, the lack of oxygen disables the pilots and majority of the passengers except for a handful in positive pressure zones of the aircraft. From here it's a battle to save the plane, keep it aloft and somehow get home.

Complicating the issue is that the radios have been disabled, navigational systems have been disabled and the only contact they have to the outside world is a text based data link system with the airline headquarters dispatch office. A dispatch office that is soon to be manned by a executive and insurance officer who are both more interested in limiting exposure than they are in getting the plane home safely. The military commander on scene, after realising what has happened is also more interested in limiting exposure than saving lives.

It's quite a gripping tale and I would recommend for people interested in thriller, disaster, aircraft novels. ( )
  HenriMoreaux | May 31, 2019 |
From the first page to the last, the action carries you in the cockpit with all the fear and excitement possible. As with all his books he does not leave much time for anything else until you are done and then want another. I have read all his books and only wait for his next to make my day. I believe this is one of my favorite Nelson DeMille Books. ( )
  Carol420 | May 31, 2016 |
Outstanding modern thriller written by skilled writers who know their stuff. Series of neglect, deceit and cover-up create the setting for a believable and utterly horrible tragedy. The best DeMille I have read ( )
  brucemmoyer | Aug 2, 2015 |
First rate suspense and thrills with a breakneck pace and well-conceived plot. Many twists and turns in the middle set up a big climax where the fate of many characters depends on the final outcome of the crisis.

Minor flaws are that the characters aren't fully developed since the big story question is "Will anyone survive?" Time is compressed so the entire novel spans a mere 12 hours or so—not enough time to get to know characters well, especially since so many have a role of importance in the plot.

This is the most "page-turning" novel I've read in a long time. DeMille certainly deserves mention with the best thriller/suspense writers of his generation. No doubt Block's career as a pilot adds chilling reality and believability to what happens on the plane. ( )
  ChrisNorbury | Apr 17, 2014 |
The time is the near future, and the Pentagon, in its infinite wisdom, has decided to preempt the Congress' arms limitations treaty by testing a very sophisticated new type of missile that is much more maneuverable than previous models. Unfortunately, because of a number of normally inconsequential but interlocked failures of equipment and personal situations of the participants, the officers of the Nimitz are unaware that a Boeing 797, the newest supersonic passenger jet, flying at 63,000 feet, has deviated slightly from its normal flight path and is flying dangerously close to the target drone. The pilot of the F-18 that is supposed to fire the new test missile does see two targets on his screen, but assuming one must be an electronic anomaly, he fires anyway, under pressure to have the test come off successfully. The new missile tracks the larger of the two targets and strikes the 797. Because it has no warhead, the missile plunges through the jet causing a sudden decompression, which at 63,000 feet is deadly. The pilot throws the plane into an emergency dive, remembering to engage the autopilot just before losing consciousness. At that altitude, the oxygen does not help because of the lack of pressure. (If you don' like flying, this is not the book for you, because DeMille' description of the cabin' depressurization and what happens to the passengers is rather graphic.) Not everyone is killed, but all except two are left severely brain-damaged. The two who survived the decompression were in the lavatories at the time, enclosed spaces that decompressed much more slowly because the doors sealed, closing from the inside against the frame, and the compressors continued to supply compressed air through the vents. They could not open the doors to get out because of the extreme pressure and so did not suffer brain damage or fatal complications. (The lesson here, of course, is to spend your entire flight locked in the bathroom. Smoke, too, but leave the box cutters at home.) Commander Sloan, captain of the Nimitz, then plots how he can cover up the tragedy. The pilot reports seeing no one alive on the plane, so Sloan tries to persuade the only other person on the bridge, a retired, observing admiral, that given that the test was technically illegal because of the arms limitation treaties, shooting down the aircraft, now cruising along unaided at 11,000 feet, would be in the best interests of the Navy. In the meantime, John Berry, a small plane pilot and bathroom survivor, discovers two flight attendants who had been isolated in the lower galley, a little girl and another man who had also been lucky enough to be in the bathroom at the time of decompression. Together, they try to figure out what has happened and how they might get out of the mess they now find themselves in. Those passengers who had managed to put on oxygen masks were not dead but had suffered severe brain damage and several of them have begun behaving erratically, often in a threatening manner. John discovers that none of the four radios are not working; fortunately the data link, a special communications line to the company, still works. Using the autopilot to help keep the plane under control (following directions from the company over the datalink,) Berry begins a slow turn of the plane back toward California. The trailing fighter pilot now realizes there must still life — or at least a vase of flowers and assorted fruit and nuts — on board and he only pretends to follow Sloan' orders to down the plane. Clearly, DeMille has a cynical view of supervisors and those in command. In both books, those in charge spend most of their time basing decisions on how the results might affect their career or promotions rather than on what is right or what the facts may warrant. In Mayday, the insurance agent for the airline and the VP of operations both decide to vector the stricken airliner into the sea; the agent, because the liability of caring for the disabled people the rest of their lives is more exposure than the insurance company can bear; and the VP, because he was involved in the decision to save money by not spreading the risk, and is also afraid that some maintenance shortcuts may come to light, especially as they think it may have been a bomb that caused the decompression. They also react to the current American fetish that all accidents and mishaps must be somebody' fault and therefore someone — anyone — must be punished. This was one of DeMille' first books, and his co-author is an accomplished wide-body airline pilot. It lacks some of the delightful wisecracking of John Corey, hero of some of his later novels, but nevertheless already has the taut suspense-filled-fasten-your-seat-belt-can' content so typical of his books. ( )
  ecw0647 | Sep 30, 2013 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
DeMille, Nelsonprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Block, ThomasAuthormain authorall editionsconfirmed
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0446604763, Mass Market Paperback)

Twelve miles above the Pacific Ocean, a missile strikes a jumbo passenger jet. The flight crew is crippled or dead. Now, defying both nature and man, three survivors must achieve the impossible. Land the plane. From master storyteller Nelson DeMille and master pilot Thomas Block comes Maydaythe classic bestseller that packs a supersonic shock at every turn of the page....the most terrifyingly realistic air disaster thriller ever. Like a growing tidal wave, the escaping air was gathering momentum. A teenaged girl in aisle 18, seat D, near the port-side aisle, her seat dislocated by the original impact, suddenly found herself gripping her seat track on the floor, her overturned seat still strapped to her body. The seatbelt failed and the seat shot down the aisle. She lost her grip and was dragged after it. Her eyes were filled with horror as she dug her nails into the carpet, as the racing air pulled her toward the yawning hole that led outside. Her cries were unheard by even those passengers who sat barely inches away from her struggle. The noise of the escaping air was so loud that it was no longer decipherable as sound, but seemed instead a solid thing pounding at the people in their seats......

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:00:50 -0400)

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An airliner on a routine flight from San Francisco to Tokyo is struck by a U.S. Navy missile. Because of the sudden change in cabin pressure, all but five people on board are either dead, comatose, or raving mad. As Flight 52 becomes the ultimate test of survival, onboard horrors begin to mount up. In addition, the airline, the insurance company, and the Navy are desperate to cover up the mishap--no matter what the cost.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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