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Review: Mayday

March 29, 2012

As a passenger jet is flying over the Pacific Ocean it’s struck by a military test missile, leaving a gaping hole in the aircraft.  Some people are sucked out of the hole and most of those remaining are left brain damaged (almost zombie like) because of oxygen deprivation.  Only those who happened to be in the lavatories at the time of impact are unscathed.  Those three are desperate to save themselves and the aircraft so they attempt to contact ground control and the response they get is very unsettling.

Mayday, by Nelson DeMille and Thomas Block was originally written by airline pilot Block in 1979 and was updated by Block and DeMille in 1998 to reflect changes in technology and society.  In the introduction to the book, readers are warned not to read it on an airplane and I can see why – it’s a terrifying scenario to think about.

This book is exciting, non-stop action.  Most of the story felt plausible, except for the actions of some of the brain damaged passengers.  Almost scarier than the incident on the airplane is the airline executive’s reaction to it.   Since the emphasis is on action, there isn’t a lot of character development, but that’s okay – the plot is solid and I was eager to find out what was going to happen next.

I listened to the audio version of Mayday – it’s narrated by Scott Brick and, as usual, he does an outstanding job.  The book is on 11 CDs and lasts about 13¼ hours.  I enjoyed the book as I listened to it, but don’t know that I loved it.  It’s definitely entertaining, but not particularly memorable.

Review copy provided by Hachette Books. I am an Indiebound Affiliate.

34 Comments leave one →
  1. March 29, 2012 4:42 am

    I used to read a lot of Nelson DeMill in my late teens and early twenties! Haven’t read one for years though. One of these days I will get back to reading him.

  2. March 29, 2012 6:04 am

    This sounds like a nail-biter!

  3. March 29, 2012 6:19 am

    Not sure about the oxygen part.. But it is certainly timely with pilots going nuts on planes and such.

  4. March 29, 2012 7:29 am

    Yes, very timely with the JetBlue incident a few days ago! I think I’m too wimpy to read this one (I might never get on a plane again).

  5. March 29, 2012 9:18 am

    I don’t think this one will be for me. It sounds really exciting, just not something I can see myself really enjoying. I’m glad that you liked it.

  6. March 29, 2012 9:40 am

    Wow this sounds exciting and scary but yes – I would not want to read it on an airplane!

  7. March 29, 2012 10:56 am

    Oh, wow, this one does sound scary, but it also sounds like something I might sip because I am terrified of flying. I don’t need anymore reasons to be scared! Wonderful review today!

  8. March 29, 2012 11:41 am

    Great review, honest and concise. Not sure this would be for me. 🙂

  9. March 29, 2012 12:20 pm

    Not for me, either. This author is the ONLY one who failed the 50-page test with a previous title..

  10. March 29, 2012 12:52 pm

    I’m beginning to think more and more that action novels need to be listened to versus read! Every single one I’ve listened to has kept me breathless and I would anticipate this to be the same; it definitely sounds like it is! I might download this one on audible.com, but I do travel a lot for work so… I might need to wait a bit before I listen to it? Or, at least when my travel requirements slow down! 🙂

  11. March 29, 2012 12:55 pm

    Wow, what a premise for a storyline! Not sure I would read it though as I like flying and wouldn’t want to change that.

  12. March 29, 2012 12:56 pm

    Yikes, not for the fear of flying set, huh? It sounds like an exciting read, I’ll have to add this to my list.

  13. March 29, 2012 1:12 pm

    I think they made a movie of this one. Either that or tons of people talked about it. I don’t recall reading it but it sounds so familiar.

  14. March 29, 2012 3:08 pm

    This is a real nail-biter, edge-of-your seat book! I used to read a lot of Nelson DeMille but it’s been a few years. I think I’d like to listen to this one, especially since you said the reader is outstanding. I think this would be good when I need something that will distract and entertain me!
    Great review!

  15. March 29, 2012 3:18 pm

    Now this sounds freaky!

  16. March 29, 2012 3:57 pm

    Sounds intense. The zombie device sounds a bit strange, but the non-stop action probably makes up for some of the kinks in the storyline!

  17. March 29, 2012 7:46 pm

    That sounds like a scary premise, especially since I have a phobia of flying! I can’t get on the plane without taking my ‘calming pills’ lol…There’s no way I could read this one 😛

  18. March 29, 2012 8:13 pm

    I read this quite awhile ago when I first discovered Nelson DeMille. It does make you think twice about flying!

  19. March 29, 2012 8:36 pm

    Yikes! Sounds intense, but I think I’d enjoy reading it if I’m not going to be flying anytime soon. Definitely would not read it on a plane!!!!

  20. March 29, 2012 8:51 pm

    I didn’t even know that author was still alive…I absolutely cannot read crash books…ever.

  21. March 29, 2012 9:47 pm

    I’m with Patty…I avoid crash stories like the plague. That’s why I never watched Lost, too…I saw the plane crash in the first episode and refused to watch anymore!

  22. March 29, 2012 9:52 pm

    Yikes! That would just freak me out. I will have to check this out though – looks like I will be on the edge of my seat.

  23. March 30, 2012 12:28 am

    Probably not a fit for me but if I were try it it would be on audio 🙂

  24. March 30, 2012 9:40 am

    Hmmm, if after 13-1/4 hours, you’re feeling kinda “meh” about the whole thing, I think I might pass on this one! I like action/adventure stories, but perhaps more in movies than in books to begin with; and it doesn’t sound like the narrator was able to do much with it. Plus, since I hate flying, my own walking nightmares about air travel would probably leave me jaded to DeMille’s efforts 😛

  25. March 30, 2012 12:21 pm

    I bet I’d like this one. I like anything to do with plane crashes and the aftermath. I think this type of novel is usually better to listen to. I’ll have to watch for it at my library.

  26. March 30, 2012 2:15 pm

    Scott Brick is a great narrator, but I’m with the group that never reads crash stories. Flying is scary enough already 😉

  27. March 30, 2012 4:20 pm

    Not sure I want to read this. Sounds a little too scarily possible.

  28. bookingmama permalink
    March 30, 2012 4:24 pm

    I rarely fly but these books freak me out!

  29. March 30, 2012 9:32 pm

    i’ve read one of nelson demille’s book in the past and felt it moved a little slow, but once it picked up the pace i couldn’t stop reading it. this one sounds like a good one, but i don’t know if i’ll be able to ride an airplane after i read it.

  30. March 31, 2012 9:22 am

    Okay, so somehow I *still* haven’t managed to listen to Scott Brick. I’m not sure how this has happened, since people rave about him.

  31. stacijoreads permalink
    March 31, 2012 10:53 am

    This sounds scary but good! I find myself getting anxious when I fly so I’m not sure if I’ll read this one or not but you never know!

  32. April 2, 2012 10:33 pm

    I’m a terrible flier and this review alone made me nervous!

  33. April 16, 2012 11:56 am

    I loved this audiobook! There is a warning at the beginning though that notifies the listener that it’s unwise to listen while flying.

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