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Scratch One (Hard Case Crime) Paperback – 29 Oct 2013


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More About the Author

After graduating from Harvard Medical School, Michael Crichton embarked on a career as a writer and filmmaker, whose credits include 'The Andromeda Strain', 'Westworld', 'Jurassic Park', 'Rising Sun', 'Prey' and 'State of Fear' and the TV series 'ER'. He has sold over 150 million books which have been translated into thirty-six languages; twelve have been made into films. He is the only person to have had, at the same time, the number one book, movie and TV show in the United States.

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Review

""Scratch One "is a great starting point for this "new-old" series, and should have alerted the world in 1967 that an excellent, up-and-coming novelist was in our midst." Borg.com

"Pure, high-octane entertainment." - Pop Mythology

"A joy to read." - Geek Nutz

"Great delight to Crichton fans who are still mourning his 2008 passing." -Geek Girl Project

"It is this humour, and Crichton s natural storytelling skills which raise the book above the pulp pack." --Crime Fiction Lover

"Crichton's not known for a humorous touch, but he makes good use of it in this outing." ----Publishers Weekly

About the Author

Long before Jurassic Park, Twister, and ER, Michael Crichton was an honors student at Harvard Medical School - and writing paperback suspense novels on the side, under the pen name "John Lange." Lange wrote eight books...and then vanished. Now Hard Case Crime is proud to bring all of John Lange's work back into print for the first time in decades - and under Crichton's real name.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 14 reviews
10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
My first Lange book. 21 Feb. 2006
By M. Bush - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This was the first of my John Lange books that I have picked up to read.

I would have to say that this is among my favorite Crichton books that I have read; and that includes all of them published under Michael Crichton and Jeffery Hudson.

Although this book has a different feel then a typical Crichton books it is an amazing page turner.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
The Spy Who Confused Me 19 Mar. 2014
By Dave Wilde - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
John Lange was one of the early pen names of Michael Crichton, best known for The Andromeda Strain and Jurassic Park. While enrolled at Harvard Medical School, Crichton began publishing a number of novels. Scratch One is one of a number of Crichton's early novels that have recently been re-released by Hard Case Crime. The others are Odds On, Zero Cool, Easy Go, The Venom Business, Drug of Choice, Grave Descend, and Dealing. I have read a number of these already and, while not perfect, they are fun, light, fast reading that I have found worthwhile. I haven't read any of Crichton's more famous works, but I will note that these early novels compare favorably to many of the bookstand pulp/adventure/crime novels that could be found in the late sixties and early seventies and these books should be read in that context.

During his John Lange period, Crichton had a penchant for writing about the Monte Carlo, the French Riviera, and the Costa Brava. This book is no exception as the action begins outside a casino in Monte Carlo before moving on to Cairo, Lisbon, and Copenhagen. In each of these cities, mysterious assasinations took place.

In the beginning of the book, there are a lot of things going on with disparate people in a variety of cities. It is hard to keep them straight.

A terrorist group composed of Algerian and other Mideast elements wants to stop shipments from getting to Israel, which is building a nuclear reactor. The CIA wants to counteract what the terrorists are doing. So they send an assassin to Europe. Meanwhile, the Associates, led by Dr Georges Liseau, hire Ernst Brauer to counterattack the American assassin.

Into all this steps Roger Carr, who is heading to France for a real estate deal but somehow gets mixed up in international intrigue. It's several decades before the internet and fax machines and digital phones and in this semi-primitive time, mistakes about identity can be made and both the Associates and the CIA think Carr is Morgan who never made it to France.

Carr gets strange phone calls at his hotel room, notes left under his drink at a cabaret theater, a strange taxi driver who leaves indecipherable clues, and a woman who approached him at the cabaret shows in his hotel room and suddenly vanishes sans her underthings. And, that's the weird stuff before the naked woman with a gun, the stranger on the palisade with a gun, and the Tommy-gun erupting on the street. There's also the matter of the knife-wielding guy who shows up in Carr's hotel room.

Meanwhile, Carr just scratches his head, confused. It's sort of a takeoff on the James Bond theme and intended to be comedic. Crichton writing as Lange has done better work than this. It is tolerable but stiff. In the end, it was not entirely satisfying, but it is not a difficult read and does give you a flavor of an early struggling Chrichton finding his voice.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Fast and Furious 4 Sept. 2013
By Todd McFarland - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Scratch One is a gripping espionage thriller, nothing more, nothing less. I enjoyed it thoroughly and found myself picking it back up after I had just put it down.
The Spy Who Confused Me 19 Mar. 2014
By Dave Wilde - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
John Lange was one of the early pen names of Michael Crichton, best known for The Andromeda Strain and Jurassic Park. While enrolled at Harvard Medical School, Crichton began publishing a number of novels. Scratch One is one of a number of Crichton's early novels that have recently been re-released by Hard Case Crime. The others are Odds On, Zero Cool, Easy Go, The Venom Business, Drug of Choice, Grave Descend, and Dealing. I have read a number of these already and, while not perfect, they are fun, light, fast reading that I have found worthwhile. I haven't read any of Crichton's more famous works, but I will note that these early novels compare favorably to many of the bookstand pulp/adventure/crime novels that could be found in the late sixties and early seventies and these books should be read in that context.

During his John Lange period, Crichton had a penchant for writing about the Monte Carlo, the French Riviera, and the Costa Brava. This book is no exception as the action begins outside a casino in Monte Carlo before moving on to Cairo, Lisbon, and Copenhagen. In each of these cities, mysterious assasinations took place.

In the beginning of the book, there are a lot of things going on with disparate people in a variety of cities. It is hard to keep them straight.

A terrorist group composed of Algerian and other Mideast elements wants to stop shipments from getting to Israel, which is building a nuclear reactor. The CIA wants to counteract what the terrorists are doing. So they send an assassin to Europe. Meanwhile, the Associates, led by Dr Georges Liseau, hire Ernst Brauer to counterattack the American assassin.

Into all this steps Roger Carr, who is heading to France for a real estate deal but somehow gets mixed up in international intrigue. It's several decades before the internet and fax machines and digital phones and in this semi-primitive time, mistakes about identity can be made and both the Associates and the CIA think Carr is Morgan who never made it to France.

Carr gets strange phone calls at his hotel room, notes left under his drink at a cabaret theater, a strange taxi driver who leaves indecipherable clues, and a woman who approached him at the cabaret shows in his hotel room and suddenly vanishes sans her underthings. And, that's the weird stuff before the naked woman with a gun, the stranger on the palisade with a gun, and the Tommy-gun erupting on the street. There's also the matter of the knife-wielding guy who shows up in Carr's hotel room.

Meanwhile, Carr just scratches his head, confused.

Chrichton writing as Lange has done better work. It's readable, but not as slick and finished as it could be.
Scratch One: A Novel - entertaining 2 Jan. 2014
By Rhonda Carroll - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book wasn't written in what I have come to expect of Michael Crichton excellence. However, it is entertaining. The action is non-stop although at times seemed drawn out. The premise of this book is another "mistaken identity" - a businessman (realtor) is mistaken for a ruthless arms dealer. The main character is unaware of his mistaken identity although calamity seems to follow him throughout his business trip. He seems a bit dense at times and doesn't react with as much fear of his captors/circumstances as an "average Joe" would have. I would have enjoyed reading more descriptions of how he relied on ingenuity to get out of the jams he found himself in, rather than rely on his captors to realize their mistake and let him go. This book lacked passion which, for me, spoiled suspense and thrill.
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