22 May 2014

BINARY - by Michael Crichton, writing as John Lange

This 216 page novel counts down the twelve hours to a potential metropolitan disaster, as John Graves, working with Decker of Special Projects Division and Venn of Bell Labs, frantically attempts to use his close knowledge of mad man Wright to prevent the timed release of a binary nerve gas into the air of Los Angeles.

The technology dates the tale - no microcomputers in the general population, and those used by large departments all text-based (no Windows in '72!) - but it moves at a good pace. It's a chemical or physics student's dream, made readily understandable by Crichton's attention to explanatory passages which read easily.

Lots of "red herrings" to be followed, errors of judgement to foul up proceedings - as the clock counts down.

And all aspects of the intended crime feasible - which makes it scary when the reader realizes "precautions" today still could allow it to happen.

A lovely light read, easily digestible. The front cover illustration bears no relation to any part of the plot - a typical men's novel from the era of first publication.

a Hard Case Crime novel published by Titan Books
(c) 1972, renewed 2000
ISBN paperback 978-1-78329-125-0

Available in New Zealand from Booksellers NZ outlets.

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