Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Michael Crichton: Next (Big Disappointment)

So far I've only posted on books I've really enjoyed, that met or surpassed my expectations. I'm always trying out new authors because I want to expand my list of favorites, so I try lots of books that I end up tossing aside after reading only a few pages, because they either don't hook me (if I'm not caught and bagged by then, I know it won't be worth the effort to go on), or their implausibilities annoy me. For example, sometimes I read a few lines of dialogue and think, "No one talks like that!" That's all she wrote far as I'm concerned. Anyway, I don't post about all of the ones I throw back into the pond. Until now. Why now? Because I have enjoyed all of this author's previous novels so much that I expected a lot better from him. I speak of Michael Crichton and his latest novel, Next.

WARNING, WARNING! DANGER WILL ROBINSON!!

If you don't want to hear my complaints because you plan to read it and don't want to see any spoilers, go ahead and stop reading at this point. You can't stop, can you?

You still with me? Good. What was so disappointing about Next?
  1. The very first character we run into is a PI. He's supposed to be following this other guy who stole some frozen embryos from some biotech company. But the PI keeps taking his eyes of his subject and, like a bozo, keeps losing him! Like 3 or 4 times! What a dunderhead. (If he were supposed to be stupid, I could understand, but he's not portrayed that way at all.)
  2. Then there's this lawyer chick who's the daughter of a guy who's suing another biotech firm because they used his tissues for commercial purposes (that's his claim, anyway). This lawyer's apparently second chair to another lawyer in the case. She's supposed to be a very smart and experienced attorney. When her dad finally takes the stand, and is being cross-examined by opposing counsel, she freaks and whispers to the lead attorney, "Stop this! Now!" What an idiot! First of all, didn't she anticipate this line of questioning? Second, how's the other laywer supposed to stop cross-examination? What a dolt.
  3. In the trial, the lead attorney for the plaintiff, the dad, cries out "Objection!" Then the judge sustains the objection without any objection being made, except for the cry of "Objection!"
I'm sure that if I had kept reading there would be many more of these problems, but I just couldn't continue. I got the impression that Mr. Crichton either had some incompetent editors, had someone else actually write the book, or both. Now I'm going to be all skeptical when I look at his next work. I hope he recovers his earlier skills.

Please leave your comments, tell me what you think.