A quick-paced, medical mystery with a lot of bit-part characters to distract you: that’s my take on Michael Crichton’s A Case of Need. Loaded with padded dialogue and esoteric terminology, this book dances the line between medical drama and crime novel without much definition to tell the difference. I commend him for tackling a subject that was a hot button at the time; and, I can also appreciate the attempted genre-split, but I think the novel would have benefited from just being a medical drama. The “whodunit” aspect was a tangled spectrum of vague characters and events that played out pretty flat in the end. Though it’s obvious Crichton harbors some subtly jaded feelings towards his original profession, healthcare is where his strength and knowledge lay and he should have stuck with that.

I enjoyed it well enough, but was left wishing it would hurry up and end in some parts, which is sort of an unfortunate fact when one is speaking of a short book with an already hurried pace. It’s an early Crichton novel, which is evident when reading. Luckily, he decided to lead with science over mystery throughout his career.


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