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A Case of Need by Michael Crichton

A Case of Need (original 1968; edition 2003)

by Michael Crichton

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2,544353,506 (3.3)6
Title:A Case of Need
Authors:Michael Crichton
Info:Signet (2003), Paperback, 416 pages
Collections:Your library

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A Case of Need by Michael Crichton (1968)

  1. 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.

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English (33)  Spanish (2)  All languages (35)
Showing 1-5 of 33 (next | show all)
Early Crichton novel, from 1968, shows promise but is a tangle of too many characters, late surprise revelations that really don’t have anything to do with the main plot thread, and an up-in-the-air ending with the protagonist, after 400 pages of dogged investigation, seeming to just walk away from the final reveal.

Essentially, it’s the story of a doctor who is falsely accused of performing an illegal abortion that results in the death of a young woman from a prominent family. The protagonist, a friend of the accused, sets out to determine what really happened, and uncovers a coiling nest of prominent people with dirty secrets. It’s not a bad story, but it’s certainly the first novel I’ve ever read with footnotes. Somebody apparently thought it would be a good idea to footnote virtually every medical term used in the text – a disruptive and largely unnecessary step.

It’s a compelling read until the last quarter of the book, when the cast of characters reaches critical mass and the reader really has trouble remembering who was what and how they all tie together.
( )
  LyndaInOregon | Dec 14, 2018 |
This book was first published in 1968 under the pen name of Jeffrey Hudson. It is a medical mystery written while Crichton was attending Harvard Medical School. I found it interesting to read one of his early novels. These novels were written under various pen names, and until recently, I had not known they existed. I could see the beginnings of his fast paced, very readable writing style. I could also see the beginnings of "ER", the television show he created which I watched faithfully. Crichton weaved many technical medical details into the storyline of this book, and I could see the beginnings of his techno thrillers. I enjoyed the medical references and didn't expect to learn so much from a novel written fifty years ago.

The plot left a lot to be desired - especially in the last third of the book where it became very far fetched. Another thing that bothered me was his blatant sexism. For example, there were over a dozen doctors mentioned in the book and not one was a woman. Most of the women in the novel were referred to as "girls". Although the woman's movement was well under way by the time this novel was written, there were plenty of male chauvinists around and Crichton was clearly one of them.

While this was not a great novel, I did enjoy it and would recommend it for Michael Crichton fans. ( )
  slsmith101 | Sep 20, 2018 |
This is the first book published by Michael Crichton (pseudonym Jeffery Hudson). I still miss his writing, and I had never read this book before so it was time for me to dive into his back list. I can't remember what alerted me to this book, but I was also intrigued to read more about the clandestine abortions that women had to seek out in the days before Roe v Wade.

This is definitely a book of its time when the safest communication was a pay phone, when a young white woman would rebel against a parent by dating or sleeping with a Negro, and when LSD was prevalent. It's difficult as a modern reader to encounter the racism, the misogyny, and the hatred towards abortionist doctors and pregnant women.

A Case of Need was a compelling read for me because of the subject matter of abortion and the impact on women, particularly in these times of rollbacks with healthcare in general. It's inconceivable
that we're still so close to a woman bearing all the responsibility for sexual encounters, to the point of the poor being either lucky enough or unfortunate enough to find back alley methods or to the wealthy being able to afford the privacy of confidential and convoluted reasons for a D&C. A Case of Need is scary for its portrayal of how little agency women have, particularly women without financial resources.

Crichton's writing is clumsy and rushed. He uses a lot of medical terminology with footnotes, so it is a slog to make it through all of the narrative. This was a book that meant a lot to me because of the subject matter but it's definitely not a favorite due to the level of writing skill. I'm still glad that I read it, but I would recommend this book only to other readers who are interested in exploring a "slice of life" rather than a well written book. ( )
1 vote MNTreehugger | Jan 1, 2018 |
Fast moving thriller ( )
  keithgordonvernon | May 1, 2017 |
Too many medical terms that I could not understand made me put it down for good. ( )
  JordanRMD | Feb 18, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 33 (next | show all)
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Crichton, Michaelprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Hudson, JeffereyAuthormain authorsome editionsconfirmed
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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. . .


There is no moral obligation to conserve DNA.

First words
All heart surgeons are bastards and Conway is no exception.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Originally published under the name of Jeffery Hudson
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0451210638, Mass Market Paperback)

A Case of Need is Michael Crichton's award-winning debut novel, written shortly after he completed his medical internship. Set against the ever-building pressure and pace of a large Boston medical center, the tensions flare-and explode-when a surgical operation tragically ends in death, raising countless questions. Was it accidental malpractice? A violation of the Hippocratic oath? Or cold-blooded murder?

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:25:36 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

Murder? Botched surgery? Accidental malpractice? Someone violating the Hippocratic oath? No one knows exactly.... Only one doctor is willing to push his way through the hidden medical data and secrets to learn the truth.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 4 descriptions

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