As you all well know, I’m a huge fan of Mr. Crichton’s work. I’ve reviewed Timeline and Jurassic Park so far, and I’ve been on the lookout for the next book to try from his arsenal. Micro caught my eye, as it was Crichton’s last work, and the second to be published posthumously after Crichton’s death in 2008. Micro was unfinished, so HarperCollins (his publisher at the time) commissioned Richard Preston to complete the novel based on Crichton’s remaining notes and research.
Micro begins with a mysterious occurrence in a lawyer’s office in Hawaii. There, police find three men with mysterious cuts all over their bodies caused by razor-sharp knives that killed them all. There were no knives found in the office, leaving the Hawaii Police Department investigator assigned to the case, Dan Watanabe, stumped. On another part of the island, a new biotechnology company named Nanigen has built a vast lab complex deep in the forests of Hawaii. They claim it is for the purposes of drug discovery via identifying new compounds that the island has to offer using new technology. However, all is not as it seems. A group of graduate students from Cambridge who study specific fields of biology are recruited by Vin Drake, the CEO of Nanigen, to come to Hawaii and work on their groundbreaking research. However, one of the students, Peter Jansen, discovers that his brother Eric, who already works for Nanigen, has died following a tragic boat accident in Hawaii. Peter is quite skeptical, as his brother is an accomplished boater and swimmer, and he suspects foul play at the hands of Nanigen. He travels with his fellow students to Hawaii on the pretense of accepting Drake’s offer, but plans on uncovering Drake’s secrets. What he finds however, is much, much more than he bargained for. What he originally intended to be an outing of Drake’s involvement in his brother’s disappearance turns into a brutal fight for survival that none of the students were prepared for.
I think one of my favorite things about Micro as well as Crichton’s writing in general is his descriptiveness. The paragraphs about the “micro world” are so rich and colorful that I could imagine myself amongst the students, as diminutive in stature as they were, staring up at twigs and leaves that dwarfed them, and running in fear from huge beetles that would have never seemed ominous to a “normal” sized human. Crichton (and Preston’s) inclusion of Drake as the villain was quite smart, as he was a great counterweight to the intuitive and tenacious nature that the students expressed in order to stay alive in the micro world. He was just as brilliant as them, which made him all the more evil and cunning, and made the reader hate him even more. Crichton and Preston were also able to include some great biology lessons in this work as well, which I of course found extremely interesting (although I guess I might be slightly biased.)
Additionally, the inclusion of Preston as the second author to this work was a great move by HarperCollins. I couldn’t tell where Crichton’s work stopped and Preston’s began. I know that Crichton had extensive notes on the book as a whole, and I believe that Preston did a great job in interpreting these notes and capturing the essence of Crichton’s vision for the work. In all, it is an exciting and fast paced read, both things that I have come to expect from Mr. Crichton. If you’re in the mood for a fun and fast summer read that you can power through in a few days, this is the one, science fiction fans.
5 out of 5 Stars
Micro by Michael Crichton
Hardcover: 429 pages