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Michael Crichton’s Pseudonym Cleared Away with the Re-release of the John Lange Novels

Michael Crichton was a prolific and inventive author that delved into the world of science, medicine, and fantasy. Crichton was best known for his books Jurassic Park, Timeline, Congo and The Andromeda Strain. A screenplay of his became the basis hit television show ER, and he is also credited with writing the film Twister. There was a little known part of Crichton’s writing career that hid in the shadows. During his time as an honors student at Harvard Medical school, Crichton delved into writing in between his studies under the name John Lange. Titan Books has released these books under the Hard Case Crime series, bringing the work of a Harvard student into the realm under his real name. The books in question are entitled Easy Go, Grave Descend, Scratch One and Binary. Re-released under Crichton’s real name, these books are available to the public again sans the pseudonym.

The covers for the Hard Case Crime series are something directly out of the pulp novels of the seventies. Women clad in bathing suits, or nothing at all, pose seductively with a background designed for mystery and intrigue. This is apropos as the books are nothing but exciting mystery and adventure.

Easy Go is the story of brilliant Egyptologist Harold Barnarby whom unwittingly discovers a secret message hidden in the tombs while translating hieroglyphics. Though the message tells of riches not to be believed, Barnaby must find a way to excavate the tomb without alerting Egyptian authorities to the site, as they will take everything he finds. Partnering with a freelance writer, Robert Pierce, the two must work together to get their large score.


Grave Descend is both a title and a destination. While exploring the wreck of the ship Grave Descend, diver James McGregor begins to find out that nothing about the ship is as obvious as believed. No one who was aboard seems to remember the crash the same way, nor will their reveal the mysterious cargo said to be aboard. McGregor struggles to discover the mystery and not lose his life in the process.


Scratch One is a tale of murder on the French Riviera. One of the United States deadliest agents has been sent to France to take down a group of terrorists attempting to ship arms to the Middle East. Unfortunately, the agent is delated in transit and the playboy lawyer Roger Carr is mistaken for someone far more trained and deadly. Carr must survive long enough to prove that he is not their enemy. The book is all about fast cars, trained killers and beautiful women.


Binary is what for at the time was considered a techno-thriller. The book would later become Pursuit, a made-for-TV movie. The story features a villain named John Wright hell bent on killing the president. Hijacking the materials for the deadly nerve gas VZ, Wright plans to detonate a weapon full of it in downtown San Diego, CA, as the president arrives to attend a conference with the Republican party. The gas is considered to be untraceable and all bets are off as to if Wright can be stopped.


The four novels have several things in common; they are mysteries, beautiful ladies abound and the hero is always strong and intelligent. With covers like these, you will get eyed reading them in public. The stories are a bit campy, but entertaining, and a great delight to Crichton fans who are still mourning his 2008 passing.


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