John Lange was one of the early pen names of Michael Crichton, best known for The Andromeda Strain and Jurassic Park. While enrolled at Harvard Medical School, Crichton began publishing a number of novels. This is one of a number of Crichton's early novels that have recently been re-released by Hard Case Crime. The others are Scratch One, Zero Cool, Easy Go, The Venom Business, Odds On, Grave Descend, and Dealing. I have read a number of these already and, while not perfect, they are fun, light, fast reading that I have found worthwhile. I haven't read any of Crichton's more famous works, but I will note that these early novels compare favorably to many of the bookstand pulp/adventure/crime novels that could be found in the late sixties and early seventies and these books should be read in that context.
While a light easy read, Drug of Choice is not on par with the other early Lange books. It's easy to see the genisis of many of Crichton's later ideas, but this book is a lot more amateurish. There are three basic parts to the book. In the first part, The doctor encounters two patients, one a Hell's Angel biker and one a movie star, both of whom appear to be in deep comas with no apparent cause and both piss blue urine. The movie star finds the doctor interesting and they start dating or at leSt spending the night together. In the second part, the doctor and the movie star vacation together on a secret island whose exact location no one knows and where your every vacation fantasy comes true. It's the best resort in history. In the third part, the doctor happily conducts experiments for an amazing corporation.
There are themes here of drug addiction, scientific experimentation, mind control, secret corporations, consumerism, and psychosis. There are certainly the seeds here of Crichton's later work but the whole story loosely hangs together.