I found MC's new introduction to his earliest breakthrough novel, A CASE OF NEED, quite interesting. He talks about the controversy the book stirred when it came out, and how his pseudonym -- Jeffery Hudson -- was used so that nobody in the medical world would know who wrote it. He never planned to be a writer -- he was in Harvard Medical School at the time and needed cash (so he turned out paperback spy stories about the cold war) -- but when he won an award for the novel, he had to accept it in person and his so-called secret was out.
If you enjoyed JURASSIC PARK, SPHERE, RISING SUN, or any of MC's other truly fabulous novels (I've read 'em all along with thousands of other classical and modern works of literature), you'll love this oldie from the late 60s. It's like reading a film noir -- told in first person perspective, it's about a doctor investigating the murder case of a fellow employee of a local hospital who has been arrested for aborting a young girl's unborn child and, in turn, unintentionally killing the girl later, after she suffered blood loss from the operation.
But did he really do it? That's the question that our protaganist tries to solve -- and the outcome of it all is so simple, and yet also so stunning. As the final page turns, you'll wonder how you never solved it beforehand.
It has its flaws. Michael Crichton's early work shows signs of minor problems he would solve later -- whether it be plot mistakes or simply story flow. Plus, I doubt whether a doctor would turn himself into Sherlock Holmes quite so well as he makes the character in this book.
That all doesn't matter, because you'll absolutely love this novel, especially if you're a fan. If you're new to Crichton, I suggest JURASSIC PARK, the first novel of his I read (and which totally took me by surprise). But if you're a fan, or you want a good medical thriller from the creator of ER, check this out. It's one of Crichton's better quick-reads.