Monday, May 12, 2008

Michael Crichton - A Case of Need

I am a fan of medical thrillers but A Case of Need by Michael Crichton isn't very good. Firstly, the medical footnotes annoyed the hell out of me. I get that they are useful in explaining the medical jargon, but I think it was used way too much in the book that it lost its effectiveness. Even then, it wasn't consistent! He explained some obvious terms but then did not for 'D & C', which was used regularly throughout the book. It felt like Crichton was trying too hard to impress -- hey, look at me, I know all these fancy medical terms -- and just peppered everything with all the medical jargon he had ever picked up. This was overkill, a subtle touch would have been better. Secondly, I don't think the suspense of the plot was built well at all. Discoveries that I deemed as major plot developments just vanished or turned out to be inconsequential. A prime example was the possibility that Karen Randall might not have been pregnant at all. It felt like the protagonist was pursuing this truth relentlessly but when a certain point in the book was reached, it was completely unimportant. To a reader, this was a huge letdown and ruined the tension. I guess considering that this was Crichton's debut effort I shouldn't be so critical, but I think if this was the first time we were introduced to Michael Crichton, this book would not have done well at all. I think for future medical thriller fixes, I will stick to Tess Gerritsen's novels!