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A Case of Need [Mass Market Paperback]

Michael Crichton
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (72 customer reviews)

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Mass Market Paperback, June 15 1994 --  

Book Description

June 15 1994
From the bestselling author of Jurassic Park and Rising Sun, this national bestseller combines breathtaking suspense with a penetrating examination of America's medical establishment. When a woman bleeds to death on the operating table, her physician is accused of murder--and another physician searches for the horrible truth. HC: Dutton.

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Review

"Fantastic...I loved it!" Stephen King "Superb!" Los Angeles Times --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining and Consciousness-Raising Feb. 12 2004
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Crichton focuses his microscope on the medical profession in this story of a butchered abortion performed on the daughter of a prominent Boston physician. John Berry is a Boston pathologist who has been helping to cover up the illegal abortions performed by a Dr. Arthur Lee. When Lee is arrested for murder, Berry has to unravel the case before the consequences of his own actions catch up with him. There's a lot of the technical medical terminology that Crichton has made popular on the hit TV show "ER", and a lot more of the serious analysis of the moral dilemmas that face medical practitioners in the real world, particularly as they relate to abortion. Like "ER" this is not science fiction, but a very compelling story (actually a murder mystery) informed by substantial scientific knowledge. (Crichton was a medical student at the time this novel was written). As such, there is no speculation here, just the facts as Crichton sees them, in the context of a juicy potboiler that includes licentiousness and loose living among the rich and privileged. The end result is a thoroughly compelling can't-put-it-down page-turner that seems certain to please a mass audience.
The down side is that apart from the (admittedly even-handed) discussions on abortion, there really isn't any substance to this novel. The characters are pretty generic, and only the hero really manages to make any claim on our sympathy. Mystery lovers are sure to enjoy this book, as are fans of "ER", but science fiction fans should not be expecting to find any far-out ideas here. Very entertaining, but not mind-boggling, this book will raise your consciousness about the abortion issue. Just don't expect a whole lot more from it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Decent, but don't expect much June 24 2004
By James
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This was an okay book to read. It was entertaining, however, very forgettable. Having finished the book last night, I had already forgotten the main characters name. Crichton deals with abortion in an evenhanded manner. What the story lacks however seems to be any real substance. The story seems very trite and easy to predict each turn that it will take. It does keep you interested while you read it, but only to confirm what you figured out early on. All in all three stars for the lack of depth found in this novel (unlike most Crichton novels.)
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4.0 out of 5 stars This must be the first book to read... April 24 2004
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I like all kind of medical thrillers, I like Palmer, Cook, Sheldon (Nothing Last Forever) and of course Crichton, when I started to read these kind of novels, many times I had to go to the dictionary to understand many medical descriptions, or ask some friends what does it mean this or that in the hospital, this book explain all that and after you read it you will understand many things about hospitals and doctors, this book doesn't say anything against any doctor as other medical thrillers, in this book you see how the doctors try to help themselves and their medical friends.
The case of the abortion is good, nevertheless you will not know exactly how John knew who was the bad guy, he just found it, so, at the end you will be a little disappointed but you will learn many things about doctors, for example: do you really know why the clothes of the M.D. are white?
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4.0 out of 5 stars Another Crichton Masterpiece! Jan. 3 2004
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This is another one of those books that I found very difficult to put down. It is a definite page-turner! The story plot became more and more convoluted as the mystery continued forward and made for very interesting and entertaining reading. I really enjoyed reading this novel. The novel was extremely informative and educational (in terms of medicine/healthcare). Since I have always been interested in medicine/healthcare and worked in healthcare for 16 years, this book was very appealing and most of the medical terminology/jargon made sense. However, I can see where, in some cases, the less informed reader could potentially be confused by all the medical jargon. Crichton attempts, via footnotes, to give brief explanations where due--however, the novel could have used a few more footnotes to clarify some confusing areas, especially in paragraphs that are loaded with medical jargon. Granted, there aren't too many of these paragraphs.
Nonetheless, the book was very good. I enjoyed this book almost as much as I enjoyed "The Terminal Man" (also by Crichton). It would be great to see more medical mysteries from Crichton.
This novel is definitely worth the read!
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By John
Format:Mass Market Paperback
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.
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Most recent customer reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Good, But Not His Best
A Case of Need was an alright book with a so-so book, but I felt that it could have been better, All of Crichton's other novels such as Rising Sun and Jurassic Park have been great... Read more
Published on Dec 8 2003
5.0 out of 5 stars Pure Genius
This book is amazing. It has everything - suspense, drama and a throlling ending. Pick up a copy and read it today!
Published on Dec 8 2003
1.0 out of 5 stars Trite
This is the first, and at this point only, book written by Mr. Crichton that I have read. It hasn't exactly inspired me to read any others. Read more
Published on Nov. 8 2003
4.0 out of 5 stars Ert...
Wow. I'm not a very big Crichton fanatic... I've only recently read a few of his books, Sphere included, and I think they're absolutely amazing... Read more
Published on Aug. 1 2003 by "guyswithblackhairwelcome"
3.0 out of 5 stars NOT AS GOOD AS OTHER CRICHTON-NOVELS, BUT INFORMATIVE
This is very much an average book, with nothing new to offer but for a lot of explanation of a great deal of technical terms used in the field of medicine; and it is these details,... Read more
Published on July 28 2003 by Vish Iyer
4.0 out of 5 stars A case of career change
As is mentioned by other reviewers here, this is Crichton's first novel, a medical mystery written under an assumed name. Read more
Published on July 1 2003 by Brian Hulett
2.0 out of 5 stars A Rough Start for Michael Crichton
"A Case of Need" is worth reading for a devoted Crichton fan if for no other reason than to mark how much Mr. Crichton has improved since this debut novel. Read more
Published on April 5 2003 by sweetmolly
4.0 out of 5 stars Everyone must read this book
Let's dismiss the fact that Crichton is a great novelist for a moment. Now let's take a look at A Case of Need. The writer obviously knows a lot about medicine. Read more
Published on March 14 2003 by bob
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