A Case of Need - Jeffery Hudson (Michael Crichton)

***** Another pearl from the master

Crichton manages to amaze me, always. Whether it’s one of his last books (also posthumous) or one of those written decades ago, his writing and the way he deals with the themes of his novels are always damn topical. Although his way of creating a novel is always to find a topic that is at the centre of the work, and then build a story around it, his ability to address different topics but always in a very thorough way is something unique I have never found in any other author so far.
But let’s speak about this novel, “A case of need”, written by Crichton during the Easter holidays (he says it in the introduction) when he was still a medical student, published under a pseudonym and become a bestseller to the surprise of the author himself.
The novel itself is very technical and the fact that Crichton at the time was studying medicine is obvious. Its being so technical, for me, is a great value. Despite being written forty-seven years ago (!) and many things have changed in the field of medicine, it is still very topical and provides an opportunity for an out of the line reflection on a controversial topic such as abortion.
The story is about a doctor who was arrested because they thought that a woman had died because of an abortion performed by the former, when this practice was still illegal in most of the United States. The main character is a friend of the arrested doctor who struggles to uncover the truth. We follow him in his investigations and soon, although the structure of the thriller is elaborate and well-built, we eventually get passionate to the medical and moral implications, which are then examined in the accurate notes reported in the appendix.
One thing I appreciate about Crichton is his ability to ask the questions without imposing his point of view to the reader (as opposed to what happens with many other authors that address ethical issues). He exposes the facts, the various points of view and possible developments, and let you to reason on them and form your own opinion on the subject, without influencing you. All of his books are food for thought and enrich your mind, as well as entertain you.
I conclude by saying that I was particularly amazed when I noticed in various sites that this novel has a quite low review rating, just because readers complain that the medical argument is a bit bulky. Such a thing is at least bizarre. Sure, I understand that it isn’t easy for those without a biomedical education to follow all the details of the plot, but then it is a medical thriller. What did they expect?

A Case of Need on Amazon.