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on September 18, 1999
I was coerced into buying this book because of an interest in flying and action/adventure novels. But once I started reading it I didn't remember why I needed coersion. It simply a terrific read from begginning to end. I thought that it would be similar to books like Arthur Hailey's 'Airport' which I had read years ago and quite enjoyed but I wondered how DeMille was going to do anything new with the genre. Although a big fan of the 'X-Files' and the like I was just about "conspiracied" out. But DeMille makes the missile tragedy and cover-up very believable. The attention to detail (as he acknowledged, Thomas Block's aeronautical knowledge was vital)is excellent but he never lets the technicalities (either the problems experienced at the altitude or the militaria) bog the story down. You find yourself in the cockpit right next to John Berry with your heart pounding.
Interestingly the romantic sub plot was barely touched on and was refreshing in this age of sex/sexual tension influencing everything. Rightly, the protaganists put this to one side to concentrate on the more important issues at hand. This leads to the sexual tension being there, just in the periphery. 'Mayday' is brilliantly written and while originally published in the late 1970s, the version that I bought was updated for the 1990s (in much the same way the Stephen King updated 'The Stand') and I can honestly say it's an excellent book. I bought 'Mayday' about 3 months ago and quickly got my hands on and read 'Spencerville' and 'The General's Daughter' by DeMille (both of which are excellent) and we also now have 'Gold Coast', 'Plum Island' 'Word of Honour', 'The Talbot Odyssey' and 'By the Rivers of Babylon' in our bookcase.
For fans of the action side of the story, I can also recommend Clive Cussler, whose earlier books resemble 'Mayday', including coincidentally one called 'Mayday', although I think its American title was 'The Mediterranean Caper'.
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on September 24, 2001
Nelson DeMille is one of my three or four favorite authors. He passed Tom Clancy and John Grisham some time ago.
DeMille writes with an almost frantic pace, using regular guy heroes who emerge from the ruins of tragedy or terror. "Mayday", about a jet airliner accidentally damaged by a missle over the Pacific, offered DeMille an early chance to develop his style. Placing almost al of the action in the fuselage of the damaged plane limits his stage. The details of decompression at high altitude are not pretty. The male and female leads are heroic. The victimized pilot of the fighter that fired the deadly shot is a good, if side story.
The conclusions are somewhat predictable. I finished with small disappointment, having read much of his later work earlier.
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VINE VOICEon January 13, 2000
From the first page to the last, the action carrys 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.
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on July 14, 2002
It is bad enough when your SST gets hit by a stray US Navy missile. It gets worse when the home office figures it would be cheaper for everyone to die in a hurricane rather than face the horrendous insurance costs, and it really turns south when the Navy decides to bury their mistake.
This is a great read by Demille and Block. It has been updated to handle some of the modern issues concerning airflight, but you keep wondering if they are going to make it back.
Don't miss this one.
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on July 19, 2000
Ever suspect some underhanded cover ups by our own military and government? Ever think that TWA 800 out of NY was part of some ghastly hush-hush job by higher ups?
DeMille urges us to believe anything is possible. He and co-author Tom Block are right on target in this updated and re-released disaster novel.
In "Mayday", we meet John Berry, a survior of an errant missle blasted Straton Flight 52. He is a private pilot and takes on the responsibilty of landing this flying coffin. The dead and brain damaged souls aboard are grahically depicted as decompression at 66,000 feet would dictate.
I am an avid DeMille fan and have been working my way through all of his books since "The Lions Game". DeMilles talent for drawing us in with smooth dialouge, taut as tight-rope riveting action, and dabs of comic or romantic relief with his well defined characters makes him one of my favorite authors.
I could go on and on about this laser paced read. However, I'll let you find your own copy. Simply put..."Mayday" is to the sky what "Jaws" is to the sea.
Thanks for your interest in my comments--CDS
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on July 3, 2003
By Nelson DeMille and Thomas Block
My first thought when I finished this book was damn. Damnit, this is too short and should NOT be ending now, it is TOO good a book to end. I found myself putting it down after a couple of pages to think about it. I was just trying to find a way to stretch it out and delay turning the page and finding that last chapter. Yes, Real Readers, THAT kind of book. Okay, here's the setup: Disaster novel. New supersonic airliner zooming along at 62,000 feet when some Navy clones, pretending they didn't catch the news release about a newly signed treaty AGAINST testing the missile they were about to test, tell their pilot to let er rip. Oh, oops, the pilot saw two images on his radar, but what the hell, had to be a glitch, yes? It worked. Sudden decompression at 62K feet isn't a good thing. Five survive permanent brain damage or being sucked out of the big holes in the side by being in a pressurized space, like the head, when the plane got whacked. One survivor, a good guy, with a private pilots license takes over and the cover-ups start. The Navy covering their butts and the airline covering their butts. Guess what? They want the airliner to crash. Or explode. Or just disappear. Call me a cynic, but I buy into comparing our politicians, bureaucrats, or any high brass with lawyers. If their lips are moving they are lying. The victims don't matter. All that matters is the `make-it-go-away-save-my-job- for-the-good-of-the-country'[garbage]. The book is so well written and plotted that you will not be able to put it down until you know that bad guys are taken care of and the good guys win. Maybe they win. Buy this book readers. Immerse yourself in vintage Nelson DeMille. You will absolutely love it.
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on October 31, 1999
Got so absorbed in this book I could easily spend 45 minutes on the treadmill without even being aware that I was tired. An exciting and frightening book with an interesting insight into what may or may not be standard practice in the insurance industry and the military. Demille is good. This is one of his best.
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on December 15, 1999
This was the first book I read by Demille. It is great! The story is so captivating. Demille has written a great book. I am in the 8th grade, I read it in the 6th grade I never found a book about air disasters as good. No matter the price it is worth the money. But read it on the safety of the ground.
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on January 18, 2000
I have read all of Nelson Demille's books and while some are better than others, I think this is one of his most captivating. I couldn't put it down! It's thrilling to read although not very thought provoking and maybe not the best choice for a plane ride! However, I highly recommend it.
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on March 17, 2012
If you want a scary airplane novel jam-packed with action, Mayday is for you. I'm a multimillion-mile airplane passenger, in the smallest bush planes with pontoons to the largest commercial behemoths, and have been in several scrapes myself; but I found not a single dull page in this book. It is very, very hard to put down.

A military test goes wrong and causes sudden decompression of a new commercial jet flying over the Pacific at 65,000 feet carrying 300 passengers. A surviving civilian passenger with no experience in large aircraft and no communications must figure a way to fly it back and try to land. Meanwhile, as part of a cover-up, some in the military, the airline, and the insurance carrier do their best to splash the plane.

Anyone who flies and likes thrillers will have a ball with this one. You can get white knuckles in your armchair.
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