I enjoyed the 2nd John Lange, aka Michael Crichton, novel significantly more than the first one I read. Scratch One started off extremely fast, in typical Crichton fashion over a few day period, with a cascade of people being murdered. This novel really reminded me of a James Bond/spy movie. There is a serious case of mistaken identity as the main character, an American Lawyer, gets taken for an international assassin that is trying to stop an arms deal from going down in the French Riviera while he is trying to buy a mansion for his Senator Uncle. I guess things haven’t changed much in European and Middle Eastern politics and drama in the last 50 years because things seemed almost as crazy and dangerous then as they are now. The overall plot was a little muddled, but there was a shadowy criminal organization led by some demented doctor who liked to torture people, aka the big bad, and a slew of henchman led by a big brute, after our poor hero Roger Carr.
Roger is seriously an idiot though, crazy close shaves keep happening to him over and over and he just keeps chalking it up to chance. One of the more interesting things I noticed when reading this was that after the initial murder spree over a period of a few days Crichton went to a typical chapter system and didn’t mention what day it was or the time, which is typical for him in most all of his other works. There wasn’t a big emphasis on technology in this book either, which was also slightly askew from his normal writing, it was straight spy thriller. There wasn’t gratuitous sex and drug use in this book, like in the previous Hard Case Crime Odds On, but there was definitely a very damsel in distress and women are only here to look gorgeous and be pined after sexist tone to the Scratch One. So far both of the Hard Case Crime novels written under his pseudonym that I have read he has not written women very well. I don’t recall him being so one dimensional when writing women in his other works but it is definitely an aspect of his writing I will be looking out for moving forward.
I just finished my 14th book of 2015 this weekend, The Magicians, and I didn’t particularly care for it. I hated the main character and then my favorite character was sort of killed off at the end. I cheated and looked up if she would be back in a later book, since the series is a trilogy, and she will. So I might at some point read the other two but I wasn’t that impressed with The Magicians and I won’t be doing a blog post on it. All of the reviews kept saying it was an adult version of Harry Potter and it was nothing even close to Potter in my opinion, if anything it was more like The Chronicles of Narnia than anything. I’m currently devouring American Gods, my first ever Neil Gaiman novel that I have read and it is really good so far. I will probably pick up another Crichton Hard Case Crime novel soon but we shall see, until then if you are looking for a Bondesque spy thriller I highly recommend, Scratch One.