Book Review: Michael Crichton writing as John Lange, pt. 2
- by Señor Editor, 28 March 2014
Earlier this year, I wrote about three of the eight books written by Michael Crichton under the secret alias "John Lange". All these books were re-released last year under the Hard Case Crime imprint, and now, thanks to the good people at Titan Books, I got the remaining books and am ready to talk about them! The John Langethon continues!
Since I already gave you the whole story about these brilliantly pulpy novels the last time around, let's just get right to the books themselves! Today I talk about "Odds On", "Easy Go", "Grave Descend", "Binary" and "Scratch One"!
Great thing about the Lange books is how each of them has a very specific setting, perfectly thought out, fitting the action and very well researched. The spirit of the '60s is very much present in this one, and Crichton's knack for writing larger than life characters from different cultures and backgrounds is astounding. The women are hot, the men are dangerous, and the stakes are high. What more could you want from a Hard Case Crime book?
The pace and style of this is a little like a 1970s version of the TV show "24", just better. Graves is a very interesting character, who actually has to look at things from a new perspective, because his enemy knows everything about him and anticipated all his moves so far. Lange does a great job of playing with the "binary" theme - the theme of two interacting elements. It's a great thriller, featuring some ideas that were really ahead of their time.
One other great thing about "Scratch One" are the villains here. One of them is a doctor. A surgeon, actually. Crichton being a doctor himself, I'm kind of used to seeing all the medical specialists in these books, but he always adds a nice twist to these characters, so it's never the same thing over and over. The villains are great.
And with a diverse cast of characters (from an English lord, to a Greek thief, several archeologists and scientists etc) these details DO play a big part in making the narration all the more richer and realistic. These are things the characters would and should know, and it's subtle touches like that that really make these books so great. You feel like you're there for these adventures, in those same countries and times.
This is the kind of story where our hero can't trust anybody, and that's one of the things Crichton excels at - lies and schemes and backstabbing, similar to "The Venom Business" from the first batch of Lange books, but in its very own style.
I can't stress enough how much I love all eight of the Lange books. I went through them like mad, reading one after another and never stopping. I have never read a Hard Case Crime book I didn't enjoy, but the Lange books are definitely prime examples of amazing pulp literature, and a great addition to the line. I wholeheartedly recommend them. Get all eight. Request them as a birthday present or something, but get them. You won't be disappointed!
And you can get them all on the Titan Books website! Make sure to come back here later, and tell us what you thought! Planning on getting these? Leave us a comment!