Posts Tagged ‘Michael Crichton’

A Case Of Need by Jeffery Hudson

October 25, 2010

Looks like I got this review posted later rather then sooner, and for that I apologize. Anyways, on to the review. A Case Of Need tells the story of John Barry, a pathologist at a Boston hospital who learns that his friend, Art Lee has been implicated in the death of Karen Randall, daughter of prominent Boston heart surgeon J.D. Randall. Karen died 0f blood loss because of a poorly done abortion (please note that this book was written and published in 1968, 5 years before the Roe v. Wade case). My thoughts and opinions on abortion aside (I feel this is neither the time nor place to discuss it), A Case Of Need is a well written mystery novel, that delves into more issues then just abortion. Other issues covered are medical politics, for example if doctors were to report every bar room brawl they treated, as required by law, they would spend a bigger percentage of their time testifying in court, and less time practicing medicine; and racial politics Art Lee being part Chinese being the prime example. These smaller, but nonetheless important issues brought up by A Case Of Need are too often overlooked by those seeking to promote or condemn the main issue of the novel. All in all, A Case Of Need, is a well written mystery dealing with hot topic issues of the day, both then and now. It truly deserves its Edgar Award.

Overall rating: 5 out of 5 stars

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Scratch One by John Lange

October 17, 2009

Scratch One by John LangeScratch One is another book the recently departed Michael Crichton wrote under the pen name John Lange. Published in 1967, just one year after Odds On, it is none the less a fair bit different. First of it has little to no sexual content, and what little does exist is not very graphic. Second rather then the main character being a professional crook, Roger Carr is an ordinary carefree man, who by a simple case of mistaken identity, gets himself caught up in a conspiracy in which he could easily wind up dead. Most moving of all is that even when given a chance to walk away, decides to risk it all for the woman he ended up falling in love with. This transformation is made even more remarkable by the fact that he used to have more of a devil-may-care playboy lifestyle. One last note though also out of print for awhile you can easily find a used copy cheap on line, for ~$11.00.

Overall Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Odds On by John Lange

October 16, 2009

Odds On by John LangeThough the name John Lange might not be familiar to many, rest assured that you have probably read at least one of his books. For Odds On is actually Michael Crichton‘s first EVER published novel. When Michael Crichton first started writing he was in Med School and a good portion of his grades were based on what his teachers thought of him. He was worried that if they knew he was writing books, they would think less of him and his grades would suffer, so he first wrote under pen names, one of them being John Lange. There are two things you should be aware of before reading this book. One is the price. Being that it has been out of print for awhile it is quite expensive. The cheapest you can expect to find it for is approximately $86, and even then it may not be in perfect condition. The second is the sex scenes. About a third of the book is soft core sex. Despite that this book is a decent read. While not up to snuff with his later novels, even here we see the beginnings of traits that would become classic Crichton. The introducing of new technology to readers, as well as unexpected twists in the story line can be seen. But I digress, In this book three men plan to rob a hotel on the Spain’s Costa Brava. To pull off this crime they use an computer (nothing new in this day and age but keep in mind this was published back in 1966) to help plan the crime. Even this early in his career we can see hints of scientific and philosophical depth to come later. For example, early on Steve Jencks, the main crook/character says “The computer doesn’t have any ideas. It only evaluates my own…” this shows that computers can NOT think for themselves. Which is something that early science fiction confused people about. Finally, the book shows that even in the computer age that the best laid plans of mice and men can still go awry, and Roberts Burns words have never proved so true.

Overall Rating: 3 out of 5 stars.