HomeGroupsTalkExploreZeitgeist
Search Site
This site uses cookies to deliver our services, improve performance, for analytics, and (if not signed in) for advertising. By using LibraryThing you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your use of the site and services is subject to these policies and terms.
Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

A Case of Need: A Suspense Thriller by…
Loading...

A Case of Need: A Suspense Thriller (original 1968; edition 2003)

by Michael Crichton (Author)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
2,882413,772 (3.34)7
The death of a doctor's daughter may be malpractice--or murder--in this novel by a #1 New York Times-bestselling author: "I loved it" (Stephen King). In the tightly knit world of Boston medicine, the Randall family reigns supreme. When heart surgeon J. D. Randall's teenage daughter dies during a botched abortion, the medical community threatens to explode. Was it malpractice? A violation of the Hippocratic Oath? Or was Karen Randall murdered in cold blood? The natural suspect is Arthur Lee, a brilliant surgeon and known abortionist, who has been carrying out the illegal procedure with the help of pathologist John Berry. After Karen dies, Lee is thrown in jail on a murder charge, and only Berry can prove his friend wasn't the one who wielded the scalpel. Behind this gruesome death, Berry will uncover a secret that would shock even the most hardened pathologist. An Edgar Award-winning novel by the author of such blockbusters as The Andromeda Strain and Jurassic Park--and creator of the long-running NBC drama ER--A Case of Need is a "superb" medical-thriller mystery (Los Angeles Times). This ebook features an illustrated biography of Michael Crichton including rare images from the author's estate.… (more)
Member:jeff.coatsworth
Title:A Case of Need: A Suspense Thriller
Authors:Michael Crichton (Author)
Info:Berkley (2003), 416 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:
Tags:2021-12 #68

Work Information

A Case of Need by Michael Crichton (1968)

  1. 00
    Turning Angel by Greg Iles (Thogek)
    Thogek: "Turning Angel" has a similar helping-a-wrongly-accused-doctor-friend scenario, but with an arguably more tightly and interestingly developed story.
  2. 00
    Blood Hollow by William Kent Krueger (VictoriaPL)
    VictoriaPL: Both books are mysteries with a young woman's death at the center and a web of suspects among those who knew her.
Loading...

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 7 mentions

English (38)  Spanish (3)  All languages (41)
Showing 1-5 of 38 (next | show all)
How could I give Michael Crichton four stars? How could I, a nobody, give the great, fantastic, man-who-mesmerizes-the-entire-world four stars? He was a nobody at the time he wrote this book as well. It is a good story and well deserves the four stars it gets -- "4-Stars The book accomplished all of its storytelling goals." Re: Current abortion laws: 1) Procedures are still being performed by doctors by those who can afford to pay and by nonprofessionals for those who can't; 2) Professionals are imprisoned and practices ruined but this will not stop abortions. It was a fleshed out morality tail. It was good and a foreshadowing of things to come. ( )
  nab6215 | Jan 18, 2022 |
Dr. John Berry, a pathologist, is interrupted at work by a call from his wife: Dr. Arthur Lee, an obstetrician friend of theirs, is in jail. John goes to see him and finds out what happened. Karen Randall, the daughter of a wealthy family, was brought into a hospital by her mother after an illegal abortion, bleeding profusely. She died, and Karen's mother claimed that Dr. Lee had done the abortion. Although he tells John that he did indeed speak to Karen, he hadn't performed the abortion - in fact, he'd turned her away, telling her that, at four months, she was too far along and he couldn't do it. She'd seemed to accept this and left, but clearly she'd gone to someone else instead.

Unfortunately, Dr. Lee makes a good scapegoat. He's half Chinese, so racism is a factor, and it won't take much work to uncover that he does, in fact, perform abortions (and people like John and other doctors helped him hide it). It won't matter to anyone but John and Dr. Lee's wife that he didn't perform this particular abortion. John figures that if he doesn't try to find out the truth, no one will.

This is one of the works on Rep. Matt Krause's list of books he wanted banned from Texas schools. It caught my eye for several reasons - the author, how old it was, and overall how odd it was to see it on the list. From what I can tell, it isn't YA fiction and was never marketed as such, although that's not to say it wouldn't appeal to teens. Still, if a school library has this in their collection, I'm guessing it's a pretty good indicator that they're sorely in need of funds for new books.

Anyway, it's pretty obvious that it ended up on the list because of its frank discussion of abortion. It even includes an appendix that lays out the arguments for and against abortion, at the time this book was written, and it's clear that Crichton considered the former to be stronger and more convincing than the latter. However, it's also clear that Rep. Krause didn't read all the books he included in his list, because one could argue that the text itself had anti-abortion aspects in the way Karen was written and John's surprising inability to explain the word "abortionist" to Dr. Lee's young son in a way that didn't make it sound like a terrible thing.

The story had a very noir feel to it. It was written in first person, from John's POV, and I often found myself thinking that he read like an old school detective who happened to know a lot of medical jargon. There was even a scene in which he followed a guy around for a bit, like some kind of private investigator. And a surprising number of people talked to him and told him everything he needed to know, even though literally no one was required to tell him anything.

The mystery was extremely convoluted and confusing - I kept forgetting who everyone was, since the primary identifying characteristic of most of them was that they were male doctors. While it kept my attention, it didn't come together in a satisfying way in the end. I was left with a bunch of questions about details that were never fully addressed. I'm still not sure if I missed something, or if Crichton really did just opt not to explain the various odd details that John kept coming across and puzzling over. I finished this feeling like I'd read maybe 95% of a book, as though the chapter that was supposed to tie everything together was left out.

This wasn't necessarily a horrible reading experience, but it did come across as extremely dated. The casual racism grated on my nerves, and it was amazing how few women had speaking roles considering this was a book dealing with an issue that primarily affects women. I did appreciate that it dealt with abortion almost entirely from a medical perspective, although the revelations about Karen possibly undermined that somewhat. Characters' opinions on abortion weren't always clear, but one thing the book never wavered on was the safety factor: abortions performed by trained doctors in medical facilities are safer than both amateur abortions and giving birth.

In case this wasn't already clear: This book is absolutely not for anyone who has phobias about going to the doctor, and not just because of the graphic descriptions of what happened to Karen. Pretty much all of the doctors were horrible in some way - arrogant, misogynistic, sleazy, etc. It's one thing to know intellectually that doctors are imperfect and human like everyone else, and another thing entirely to have all the ugliness on-page.

Extras:

Various footnotes throughout explaining some of the medical jargon. Also, six appendices: "Delicatessen Pathologists" (explains why some pathologists describe diseased organs as though they were food), "Cops and Doctors" (why doctors don't trust police), "Battlefields and Barberpoles" (the link between surgery and war), "Abbreviations," "Whites" (medical uniforms), "Arguments on Abortion," and "Medical Morals."

(Original review posted on A Library Girl's Familiar Diversions.) ( )
  Familiar_Diversions | Nov 29, 2021 |
Decent book, but left some unanswered questions at the end. ( )
  Hokie | May 23, 2021 |
It was like one of the best Law and Order episodes I've ever watched. ( )
  barajash29 | Jan 22, 2020 |
Not Crichton’s Best Work…Not Even Close

A Case of Need is the story of Dr. John Berry’s efforts to clear his fellow doctor and friend, Dr. Arthur Lee, after a teenager in his care dies from an illegal abortion. My first thought for a title for this review was, ‘You’ll need a scorecard to follow all the characters in this somewhat preachy, meandering plot involving an obstinate doctor who wants to play detective but has no idea how the criminal justice system works.’ But that seemed a bit long.

As mentioned above, the story deals with abortion and the need to broaden/relax the laws. So, depending on your political and religious leanings, you may find the story anywhere between contemporary and thought-provoking to depraved and immoral. Be advised.

Beyond the ethical position it takes, there is a story here with some suspense and good pacing. The suspense is provided by assembling a myriad of suspects and digging into the background of several witnesses, many of whom have their own secrets – drug use, infidelity, self-destructive behavior, deceitfulness. And surprisingly, Berry, with no authority and only some vague background in the Military Police, unearths all of this information singlehandedly. But after doing so, he doesn’t understand he has more than enough to raise reasonable doubt; then he doesn’t want to use this information because it’s too “dirty;” finally, he complains that the lawyer didn’t use it aggressively enough. The only consistency I could find in Berry was that he always wanted to play it alone and as a result, the circumstances that pitted him against the world were of his own making. That behavior doesn’t gain my empathy and tends to make my mind wander to other books I could be reading.

As a long-time Crichton fan, I thought I’d always be able to recommend one of his stories. I was wrong. My advice, look elsewhere for your reading entertainment. ( )
  BMPerrin | Sep 17, 2019 |
Showing 1-5 of 38 (next | show all)
no reviews | add a review
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
People/Characters
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
Epigraph
I will prescribe regimen for the good of my pa-
tients, according to my judgment and ability, and
never do harm to anyone. To please no one will I
prescribe a deadly drug, nor give advice which may
cause his death. Nor will I give a woman a pessary
to procure abortion. But I will preserve the purity
of my life and my art. . .

—FROM THE HIPPOCRATIC OATH
DEMANDED OF THE YOUNG PHYSICIAN
ABOUT TO ENTER UPON THE PRACTICE
OF HIS PROFESSION.

There is no moral obligation to conserve DNA.

—GARRETT HARDIN
Dedication
First words
All heart surgeons are bastards and Conway is no exception.
Quotations
Last words
Disambiguation notice
Originally published under the name of Jeffery Hudson
Publisher's editors
Blurbers
Original language
Information from the German Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
Canonical DDC/MDS
Canonical LCC

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English

None

The death of a doctor's daughter may be malpractice--or murder--in this novel by a #1 New York Times-bestselling author: "I loved it" (Stephen King). In the tightly knit world of Boston medicine, the Randall family reigns supreme. When heart surgeon J. D. Randall's teenage daughter dies during a botched abortion, the medical community threatens to explode. Was it malpractice? A violation of the Hippocratic Oath? Or was Karen Randall murdered in cold blood? The natural suspect is Arthur Lee, a brilliant surgeon and known abortionist, who has been carrying out the illegal procedure with the help of pathologist John Berry. After Karen dies, Lee is thrown in jail on a murder charge, and only Berry can prove his friend wasn't the one who wielded the scalpel. Behind this gruesome death, Berry will uncover a secret that would shock even the most hardened pathologist. An Edgar Award-winning novel by the author of such blockbusters as The Andromeda Strain and Jurassic Park--and creator of the long-running NBC drama ER--A Case of Need is a "superb" medical-thriller mystery (Los Angeles Times). This ebook features an illustrated biography of Michael Crichton including rare images from the author's estate.

No library descriptions found.

Book description
Haiku summary

Popular covers

Quick Links

Rating

Average: (3.34)
0.5
1 8
1.5
2 65
2.5 14
3 163
3.5 30
4 126
4.5 9
5 46

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.

 

About | Contact | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 166,168,081 books! | Top bar: Always visible