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Drug of Choice Paperback – Nov 19 2013

4 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Hard Case Crime (Nov. 19 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1783291230
  • ISBN-13: 978-1783291236
  • Product Dimensions: 12.8 x 1.5 x 20.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 358 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #252,744 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description


"Great delight to Crichton fans who are still mourning his 2008 passing." Geek Girl Project 

About the Author

Long before he wrote Jurassic Park, before he scripted blockbuster movies like Twister, before he created the groundbreaking TV series ER, Michael Crichton was an honors student at Harvard Medical School - and writing paperback suspense novels on the side, under the top-secret pen name "John Lange." Lange wrote eight books between 1966 and 1972...and then vanished.

Until, 40 years after John Lange was born, Michael Crichton chose Hard Case Crime to bring him back, personally re-editing two Lange books, even writing new chapters for one of them. Now Hard Case Crime is proud to bring all of John Lange's work back into print for the first time in decades - and the first time ever under Michael Crichton's real name.

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I am a huge Michael Crichton fan but I really didn't like this book! I felt like the plot lacked the detail and sophistication of his later works and was somewhat predictable. Arrived in perfect condition and on time.
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As good as anything he has written!
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delivered as promised
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) HASH(0xa240b1bc) out of 5 stars 37 reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa2463d38) out of 5 stars Early Michael Crichton as he learned the ropes Nov. 24 2013
By Mike Prevette - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Thank goodness for Hard Case Crime for getting these early Michael Crichton books back in print. The John Lange series of books have varying degrees of success but all of them are fascinating and entertaining. Here in Drug Of Choice you can see Crichton trying out concepts he'd explore in more detail in later novels and movies. Here, a fabulous resort promises the ultimate fabulous getaway, but then things go wrong...sound like Jurassic Park or Westworld? How about the manipulation of media using advanced science...sound like Crichton's film Looker ? Yep. There's even an odd similarity to Coma... a film MC wrote and directed but was based on Robin Cook's novel ( which came after Drug Of Choice... maybe Cook read this one too ? )
It is an early novel before MC became a blockbuster machine, so, his story telling skills are in development here... the medical mystery that kicks the story off is fascinating, but the climax of the story veers into some shaky ground, ending with one of Crichton's patented notes of ambiguity. But overall the book is a fun breezy read and a must have for fans of Crichton. Not as solid or assured as his later household name books, but an entertaining tale that may be more interesting for seeing Crichton trying out concepts he'd later perfect...
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa2464180) out of 5 stars Dopey (But Readable) Hot Mess Feb. 4 2014
By Tim Field - Published on
Format: Paperback
This is the fourth of the Hard Case Crime John Lange/Michael Crichton reissues that I've read and I'm amazed at how the quality and tone of each book wildly varies. Drug of Choice is a late 60's culture themed conspiracy thriller. As other reviewers have noted, the book presages themes in future Crichton novels and movies (Westworld, Jurassic Park, Terminal Man). Many ideas and concepts about consumerism, mind control and America's drug dependency are floated here, but the execution is clumsy and cartoonish. But, Crichton being Crichton, the reading is breezy and the pages turn easily. For Crichton completists only.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa24641d4) out of 5 stars early science-fiction by Crichton Feb. 19 2014
By Dave Wilde - Published on
Format: Paperback
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.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa246451c) out of 5 stars Fun, campy, escapist entertainment. Drug of Choice is perhaps a cut above Crichton's other early novels. Feb. 23 2015
By Craig - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Michael Crichton supported himself in med school by writing paperback originals under the pen name John Lange. Drug of Choice centers on Roger Clark, a Los Angeles doctor who stumbles onto a dangerous new recreational drug that puts its users into a coma. His investigation soon leads him to a shadowy corporation intent on controlling mankind through science.

This was meant to be a quick read, shallow but enjoyable. Lots of action, pretty girls, some plot twists thrown in for good measure--just don't think too hard because there are also a lot of gaping plot holes.

Drug of Choice is perhaps a cut above the other John Lange books I've read. There are shades of Crichton's eventual hit TV show ER, as the main character is a hospital resident trying to solve a medical mystery. The story is also effective as satire of Hollywood's designer drug culture and America's obsession with pop science.

It's not really fair to dismiss this (and other Lange novels) as simply Crichton's amateur apprenticeship, as other reviewers have done. Even at this age, Crichton was clearly capable of better stories. After all, by the time this novel came out, A Case of Need had already won an Edgar award under a different pseudonym, and Andromeda Strain had become a bestseller under the author's own name. These Lange books were actually well-crafted to be precisely what they are: mindless, campy, escapist entertainment. Crichton said in an interview the Lang books were written to be sold at airports and to compete with in-flight movies for the reader's attention for a couple of hours. By this criterion I would have to say Drug of Choice succeeds very well.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa2464498) out of 5 stars Excellent Vintage Crichton Jan. 3 2014
By M. Howell - Published on
Format: Paperback
Early Crichton (ahem, John Lange) bears little resemblance to the Crichton of Sphere, Congo, Airframe, etc. in that it is less detailed, and less developed.

The foundation of Crichton is here: loosely based on a current or coming technology (in this case, prescription drugs), a quick plot, characterization that slowly allows you to paint your own picture of the players.

So it's not a masterwork, but it is a fast paced, tightly woven story with interesting characters and enough happening to keep you blazing through the pages. Further, the story, pacing and subject matter fit well in the Hard Case Crime imprint.