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Desperate Measures

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This story begins as Matt Pittman, a once famous journalist whose life has fallen apart because of overwhelming personal tragedy, prepares his own suicide. Suddenly, what was to have been the final act of Matt's ruined life is interrupted by a phone call. Matt's editor has an assignment for him: write an obituary of a man who is not dead yet.Plucked from the edge of oblivi This story begins as Matt Pittman, a once famous journalist whose life has fallen apart because of overwhelming personal tragedy, prepares his own suicide. Suddenly, what was to have been the final act of Matt's ruined life is interrupted by a phone call. Matt's editor has an assignment for him: write an obituary of a man who is not dead yet.Plucked from the edge of oblivion, plunged into the unexpected, Matt finds himself accused of killing the very man whose premature death notice he was to write.As he races to untangle the most dangerous story of his career, Matt seeks redemption in a deepening love for Jill Warren, who becomes his accomplice in survival. He finds himself thrust into the heart of a conspiracy of aging power brokers whose lethal influence in America and throughout the world remains terrifyingly unsurpassed. And he stumbles across a devastating secret forged in the birth of the Cold War--and decades before that, in the intimate and treacherous rites of passage among the nation's youthful, golden elite.


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This story begins as Matt Pittman, a once famous journalist whose life has fallen apart because of overwhelming personal tragedy, prepares his own suicide. Suddenly, what was to have been the final act of Matt's ruined life is interrupted by a phone call. Matt's editor has an assignment for him: write an obituary of a man who is not dead yet.Plucked from the edge of oblivi This story begins as Matt Pittman, a once famous journalist whose life has fallen apart because of overwhelming personal tragedy, prepares his own suicide. Suddenly, what was to have been the final act of Matt's ruined life is interrupted by a phone call. Matt's editor has an assignment for him: write an obituary of a man who is not dead yet.Plucked from the edge of oblivion, plunged into the unexpected, Matt finds himself accused of killing the very man whose premature death notice he was to write.As he races to untangle the most dangerous story of his career, Matt seeks redemption in a deepening love for Jill Warren, who becomes his accomplice in survival. He finds himself thrust into the heart of a conspiracy of aging power brokers whose lethal influence in America and throughout the world remains terrifyingly unsurpassed. And he stumbles across a devastating secret forged in the birth of the Cold War--and decades before that, in the intimate and treacherous rites of passage among the nation's youthful, golden elite.

30 review for Desperate Measures

  1. 5 out of 5

    Cheryl

    An ok 1994 political thriller about a reporter framed for the murder of a top political advisor. The story was a little slow at the beginning, but soon picked up the pace. The reporter was a little too good to be true. There were too many instances where he just happened to know someone from one of his previous interviews who had the skills/info he needed and was willing to help him. Not this author's best. Mindless entertainment. An ok 1994 political thriller about a reporter framed for the murder of a top political advisor. The story was a little slow at the beginning, but soon picked up the pace. The reporter was a little too good to be true. There were too many instances where he just happened to know someone from one of his previous interviews who had the skills/info he needed and was willing to help him. Not this author's best. Mindless entertainment.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Glenn

    I listened to this book on audio, well read and exciting book. My only issue was to make a reporter challenge professional hitmen and hoodlums, he always had the right trick up his sleeve as a result of previous interviews and had total recall whenever necessary.

  3. 5 out of 5

    itchy

    and i thought it was nothing profound. p97: the tip of the silencer snagged.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer

    This story is a thriller but it's very slow and takes too long to get to the point. There are some really good suspense worthy bits but when you get to the end and realise what it's about, it's pretty lame. Can't recommend it. This story is a thriller but it's very slow and takes too long to get to the point. There are some really good suspense worthy bits but when you get to the end and realise what it's about, it's pretty lame. Can't recommend it.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Jeffrey Thomas

    A fun beach read, or vacation read. The author sets up intriguing characters and a twisty plot that keep the pages turning, even though it is of course occasionally fantastic. Reading this kept me up late, turning the pages, avoiding work and sleep. But it was fun.

  6. 5 out of 5

    James McPike

    Morrell is the master of action thrillers!

  7. 4 out of 5

    Ruth Turner

    Good Read

  8. 4 out of 5

    Mike Stopka

    Read this book many years ago. Have always been enthralled with David morrell's books. He is a superb writer and his love the way his stories flow. Read this book many years ago. Have always been enthralled with David morrell's books. He is a superb writer and his love the way his stories flow.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Bob Box

    Read in 1995. Morrell is famous for his suspenseful fiction that delivers sheer emotional power.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Larry

    Didn’t think that this was one of Morrell’s better efforts. It has some good moments and then it bogs down - repeat.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Kenya Benjamin

    Matt Pittman’s life is one full of sorrow. His son died of a rare form of bone cancer called Ewing's Sarcoma (the same kind that Morrell's son died from) and his wife left him shortly after, and unable to cope with his pitiful life any longer, he decides to commit suicide. He has the barrel of a gun in his mouth, ready to pull the trigger when the phone rings and he is tasked with an assignment from an old friend; write the obituary for a dying diplomat. And because his friend helped him so much Matt Pittman’s life is one full of sorrow. His son died of a rare form of bone cancer called Ewing's Sarcoma (the same kind that Morrell's son died from) and his wife left him shortly after, and unable to cope with his pitiful life any longer, he decides to commit suicide. He has the barrel of a gun in his mouth, ready to pull the trigger when the phone rings and he is tasked with an assignment from an old friend; write the obituary for a dying diplomat. And because his friend helped him so much when his son was dying, he felt obliged to do him one last favour before he takes his own life. Pittman finds himself outside of the dying diplomat, Jonathan Wingate’s house, peeping through a glass door. Then he notices everyone leave the room while Wingate gasps for breath. Pittman enters the room and resets the man’s oxygen tubes, but unfortunately, the road to hell is paved with good intentions. Due to his fingerprints conveniently being on the tubes, it was too easy for the other diplomats to frame him for the murder of Jonathan Wingate. Within a few hours, Matt goes from being a suicidal obituary writer to being a fugitive, on the run and trying to save the life he was so eager to take only a few short hours before. He also manages to get an innocent woman entangled in his mess; a nurse named Jill who helped take care of Wingate during his brief stay at the hospital. Together, the two take on a life of espionage and stealth as they try to outrun and outsmart the practically invisible assassins trying to kill them while they attempt to prove their innocence. When I read this book I was a lot like the Matt at the beginning of the story so he was definitely someone that I understood and I could also relate to. He had suffered losses that were extremely painful (the death of his son and divorce from his wife) and because of it, he had become severely depressed and felt like he couldn’t continue living. Regardless of how he chose to deal with his grief I felt like Matt was a good man, a strong man. For years after his son’s death, he had carried on living even though he didn’t think he had anything worth living for. And considering the story took place within the span of about a week to a month the drastic change was quite remarkable because the version of Matt that greets you at the beginning of the story and the Matt that bids you farewell at the end are two completely different people. He went from a hollow shell wilting away, to a man making an effort to live because he finally found the will to do so. This was an excellent chronicle of the life of a desperate man resorting to desperate measures. Matt Pittman's story was one full of suspense, treachery, espionage and even love (inevitably) in the midst of all the chaos. It was an amazing novel and I would reread it as many times as is allowed. The story was quite entertaining and I enjoyed every bit of it. I recommend it to anyone who is into more political thrillers and fast paced action stories. It truly was amazing, I mean, Morrell drew on his own experiences with grief and pain in order to paint a vivid picture for Matt and it was such an encapsulating story that just drags you under and holds you in until the very last page.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Joe Stamber

    My 30 minutes each way commute to work is ideal for audio books. As I turned into my drive tonight after an afternoon shift, Desperate Measures drew to a close and the narrator announced an epilogue. I turned off the engine and decided to see it out rather than listen to the closing statements tomorrow. It turned out to be several minutes of the rambling and unnecessary thoughts of Matt Pittman, the story's protaganist. This pattern had established itself throughout the book, with regular asides My 30 minutes each way commute to work is ideal for audio books. As I turned into my drive tonight after an afternoon shift, Desperate Measures drew to a close and the narrator announced an epilogue. I turned off the engine and decided to see it out rather than listen to the closing statements tomorrow. It turned out to be several minutes of the rambling and unnecessary thoughts of Matt Pittman, the story's protaganist. This pattern had established itself throughout the book, with regular asides from the story being taken to allow Pittman a self indulgent mental meander. Perhaps on the page Pittman's ramblings would have been more valuable; I didn't care too much for the audio narrator and of course that can make or break an audio book. That Pittman's digressions became grating may well have been partly down to the voice that I heard them in. Thrillers are often far fetched, and Desperate Measures is no exception. Pittman is in his bath, gun between his teeth, depressed beyond reason, when an old colleague calls up and asks him to do him a favour and give him a few days work. What tempting proposition could persuade Pittman to abandon his suicide attempt? Writing obituaries for a magazine about to fold. How could he resist? Through an unlikely set of circumstances, this leads to him getting into all sorts of trouble. As the action unfolds, Pittman somehow evolves from a washed out suicidal reporter to an invincible super hero. Every time he needs help, someone pops up to help him... quite happy to believe his side of the story despite all the evidence that he is a crazed killer. I know we have to suspend belief every time we open a thriller, but the payback is often a rollercoaster ride of excitement that stretches disbelief just far enough. Whether it's the audio narrator or not, Desperate Measures somehow manages to combine "as if" with "whatever" to the point that you just want to get it over with. I found the plot and its resolution to be disappointing, so even on paper (or Kindle!) I'm not sure I'd have been impressed. Not a terrible book, but pretty mediocre for me.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Dale

    Once you get past the first 35 pages, its quite a ride! Desperate Measures begins with newspaper reporter Matt Pittman, the protagonist, who is literally preparing to kill himself with his pistol out of grief for his son that has died from cancer when the phone rings. Pittman decides to answer it because he wants to make sure that he exits this life without owing anything to anyone. It is his best friend and his boss who covered for him innumerable times when his son was sick. He asks for one mor Once you get past the first 35 pages, its quite a ride! Desperate Measures begins with newspaper reporter Matt Pittman, the protagonist, who is literally preparing to kill himself with his pistol out of grief for his son that has died from cancer when the phone rings. Pittman decides to answer it because he wants to make sure that he exits this life without owing anything to anyone. It is his best friend and his boss who covered for him innumerable times when his son was sick. He asks for one more favor and Pittman reluctantly goes back on the job for one more story. It was at this point in the book that I was about ready to close it up and start another book because the whole "I'm going to kill myself" angle was getting very, very old. I realize that Morrell was writing out of the pain of losing his own son to cancer, but the book was rapidly losing interest for me. Suddenly, the pace of the book changed and Pittman's research into a well-connected diplomat leads to murder, mayhem and a multi-state manhunt for Pittman. From about page 35 on the book is a roller-coaster of a ride, very reminescent of 'The Fugitive'. It is well worth the read - despite the fact that you have to slog through the first 35 pages. Read all of my reviews of David Morrell books here: http://dwdsreviews.blogspot.com/searc...

  14. 5 out of 5

    Sandra

    This thriller was enough of a page-turner to keep me getting on my exercise bike for a week! The protagonist Matt Pittman, a down-on-his-luck journalist just about to commit suicide, is pulled from the brink by a phone call for help from an editor friend to whom he is deeply indebted. Vowing to give his friend one week of service writing the obituary of a grand statesman who is not yet deceased, Pittman soon finds himself accused of murder and on the run. Soon dead bodies are piling up. Pittman s This thriller was enough of a page-turner to keep me getting on my exercise bike for a week! The protagonist Matt Pittman, a down-on-his-luck journalist just about to commit suicide, is pulled from the brink by a phone call for help from an editor friend to whom he is deeply indebted. Vowing to give his friend one week of service writing the obituary of a grand statesman who is not yet deceased, Pittman soon finds himself accused of murder and on the run. Soon dead bodies are piling up. Pittman says he is the sum of the stories he has written. Newspaperman as Main Character allows Pittman to call on the expertise of various people he has interviewed over the years---an interesting device that allows a regular guy to get out of some harrowing situations. As Pittman defends himself and digs further into the murders and the stories they reveal, he uncovers decades of political intrigue. Despite the explanation of Matt's emotional make-up throughout, I never felt his character was fully realized. So, while the book was fast-paced and I was involved with the story and the action, I never felt fully involved with the characters.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Maurice Jr.

    Reporter Matt Pittman was ready to die. He'd wrapped up all his affairs and was about to end it all when his former boss- his friend- called in a favor. He was asked to write an obituary for a man who was about to die- a man he'd tried to write an expose on seven years prior. This simple assignment inexplicably led to his being accused of murdering the man he was assigned to write about. Matt went from suicidal to determined- he would live until he got to the bottom of things. Who wanted him dead Reporter Matt Pittman was ready to die. He'd wrapped up all his affairs and was about to end it all when his former boss- his friend- called in a favor. He was asked to write an obituary for a man who was about to die- a man he'd tried to write an expose on seven years prior. This simple assignment inexplicably led to his being accused of murdering the man he was assigned to write about. Matt went from suicidal to determined- he would live until he got to the bottom of things. Who wanted him dead and why? How deeply enmeshed in the country's power elite was this man? And who could he turn to for help? This was a thrilling adventure with an interesting twist- a man who wanted to die chose to live, but had to dodge constant attempts on the life he was ready to abandon. Without any military training or any sort of survival skills, Matt relied on his skills as a journalist and the knowledge he'd accrued from various interviews over the years to keep from being killed.

  16. 5 out of 5

    David Allen

    This novel starts out with a character who doesn't even want to be alive. Then his newspaper employer sends him on an assignment that gets a lot of people angry. He becomes a fugitive, seeking allies out of former criminals, debutantes, and bitter has-beens in government to discover the truth behind a big conspiracy. In the process, it explores the connection between real secret societies, private education, and the government. All thriller readers love a good conspiracy, and this book does a good This novel starts out with a character who doesn't even want to be alive. Then his newspaper employer sends him on an assignment that gets a lot of people angry. He becomes a fugitive, seeking allies out of former criminals, debutantes, and bitter has-beens in government to discover the truth behind a big conspiracy. In the process, it explores the connection between real secret societies, private education, and the government. All thriller readers love a good conspiracy, and this book does a good job of pitting one man with a ruined reputation against an all powerful 'they'. It is a satisfying read.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Rebekkila

    The suicide of Matt Pittman, fallen star journalist, is abruptly interrupted by a phone call and an unexpected assignment: write an obituary of a man who is not yet dead. Suddenly, clinging desperately to a life he'd so recently been eager to discard, Matt will be thrust into the heart of a conspiracy whose global influence remains terrifyingly unsurpassed. And he will find himself both a suspect for murder by the police and a target for murder by invisible killers determined to destroy him-and The suicide of Matt Pittman, fallen star journalist, is abruptly interrupted by a phone call and an unexpected assignment: write an obituary of a man who is not yet dead. Suddenly, clinging desperately to a life he'd so recently been eager to discard, Matt will be thrust into the heart of a conspiracy whose global influence remains terrifyingly unsurpassed. And he will find himself both a suspect for murder by the police and a target for murder by invisible killers determined to destroy him-and anyone he comes close to-before he finds out why.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Bnschmid

    I enjoyed this book.It's by the guy who wrote,"First Blood",which,if I'm not mistaken,is the Sylvester Stalone movie that was popular 600 years ago.So any way,this guy,Matt Pittman,was sitting at home,getting ready to swallow some whiskey and a bullet,when he got called back to work as a journalist,and the games begin! I enjoyed this book.It's by the guy who wrote,"First Blood",which,if I'm not mistaken,is the Sylvester Stalone movie that was popular 600 years ago.So any way,this guy,Matt Pittman,was sitting at home,getting ready to swallow some whiskey and a bullet,when he got called back to work as a journalist,and the games begin!

  19. 5 out of 5

    Lyricsninja

    A fast moving novel that intertwines a lot of conspiracy theory with how the country is run. When powerful people get caught up with the wrong agenda behind them... theres lots of room for murder, intrigue, and coverups. this was a very quick read overall with solid writing and some impressive (though sometimes forced) character building.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Jackie Levy

    This was a quick read where I turned the pages rapidly. Though it might be an appropriate book to read while you are on jury duty or in a crowded place, I would not really recommend this to anyone. That being said, if I need another quick and very easy to read book, I might pick another one by this author.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Angie Boyter

    Listened to this on a car trip. It's a good book for that purpose---entertaining and engrossing without requiring so much attention that I cannot concentrate on my driving. There were some clever elements, BUT it dragged on WAY TOO LONG (husband & I both thought so)and had a sappy anteclimactic epilogue ending that solidified my decision to give it a 2 versus a 3. Listened to this on a car trip. It's a good book for that purpose---entertaining and engrossing without requiring so much attention that I cannot concentrate on my driving. There were some clever elements, BUT it dragged on WAY TOO LONG (husband & I both thought so)and had a sappy anteclimactic epilogue ending that solidified my decision to give it a 2 versus a 3.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Joy

    One of the guards gave me this book. I am really enjoying it. It has twists and turns and cliff hangers at the end of each chapter. A man who lost his son to cancer and then his wife to divorce, is waiting to clean up his loose ends and pay off all his debts so he can quietly kill himself.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Mike

    Re-read 11/4/2010 Re-re-read 9/10/2016 One of my favorite thrillers. I'm sure I'll be able to read again in 4-6 years. This is the first time I've noticed the "a week ago I was about to kill myself" line get a bit overused. But nevertheless stays on the Faves! Re-read 11/4/2010 Re-re-read 9/10/2016 One of my favorite thrillers. I'm sure I'll be able to read again in 4-6 years. This is the first time I've noticed the "a week ago I was about to kill myself" line get a bit overused. But nevertheless stays on the Faves!

  24. 5 out of 5

    Alsjem

    A slow start but once it got going it didn't stop. A suicidal journalist on the run from powerful, but elderly statesman realises he is the sum of all the people he has ever interviewed. Can he uncover their secret before they all die of heart-attacks?! A slow start but once it got going it didn't stop. A suicidal journalist on the run from powerful, but elderly statesman realises he is the sum of all the people he has ever interviewed. Can he uncover their secret before they all die of heart-attacks?!

  25. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    this was very suspenseful and a quick read – basically one long adventure with the main character and his allies trying to stay one step ahead of the men who are hunting them. Definitely a page turner, but I gave it four instead of five stars because it was a bit formulaic.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Cheri

    I really enjoyed this book, but it was distracting how they kept using pay phones instead of whipping out a cell (it was written in 1994). Otherwise, it had action, heart and a decent story.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Jen

    Entertaining for a commute, but requires an extraordinary suspension of disbelief. I almost stopped listening when the horses entered. If you're a conspiracy theorist, it seems like this author might suit you. Entertaining for a commute, but requires an extraordinary suspension of disbelief. I almost stopped listening when the horses entered. If you're a conspiracy theorist, it seems like this author might suit you.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Rich

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I've gotten pretty addicted to Morrell's novels. This isn't his best but it gave me my fix. I enjoyed the fact that the main character had limited resources. This hasn't been the case in the last few I read and that had gotten annoying. The ending was predictable but pretty satisfying. I've gotten pretty addicted to Morrell's novels. This isn't his best but it gave me my fix. I enjoyed the fact that the main character had limited resources. This hasn't been the case in the last few I read and that had gotten annoying. The ending was predictable but pretty satisfying.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Susan

    Another thriller by Morrell

  30. 4 out of 5

    Cws

    M Mor

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