The Med School Years Collection

For the first time in decades, all of John Lange’s work is back in print and ebook format – and for the first time ever under Michael Crichton’s real name. The eight John Lange novels are:

Grave Descend - On Sale 6/27/23

Written as John Lange – 1970
A diver must discover the ugly truth behind a mysterious shipwreck—and keep his own head above water. Leagues below the sparkling blue water of the Caribbean Sea lies the mysterious wreckage of the Grave Descend. Protected by a wall of coral reef and blood-thirsty sharks, the corpse of the sunken yacht has been deemed unrecoverable by every diver in the world. Until James McGregor is offered a shot at it. For McGregor, a 39-year-old diver with a long history of unsavory salvage jobs, it’s his last chance at a big payday. But the more he learns about the wreck the more questions he uncovers – because none of the survivors are telling the same story. How did the ship really sink? What was its cargo? And why is this whole project starting to feel like a suicide mission?

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Binary - On Sale 6/6/23

Written as John Lange – 1972
In an age of political unrest, one man aims to bring the government to its knees—and there’s only one agent who can stop him. Wealthy political radical John Wright has taken aim at the US government, believing that only he can make things right. State Department Agent John Graves has been watching Wright for months, studying him, gathering intel, trying to determine his next move before he makes it. Now after hacking a government computer for secret files and stealing a shipment of VZ nerve gas, a binary agent, Wright has gathered everything he needs to unleash mass destruction on a million people – including the US president. As the clock winds down Wright and Agent Graves play a high-stakes game of cat-and-mouse with the fate of the government and a million innocent people hanging in the balance.

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Zero Cool - On Sale 7/25/23

Written as John Lange – 1969
Ancient secrets, dangerous dames, ruthless gangs—just another dream vacation. For American radiologist Peter Ross, it sounded like the perfect vacation: deliver one study in Spain and then spend the rest of his time on a Mediterranean beach. But he wasn’t planning on meeting Angela Locke, a dark-haired beauty with a big problem – she’s on the run from two warring gangs, each dead set on finding a mysterious artifact, and they’ll kill anyone who stands in their way. It’s a desperate fight for survival across the European continent as Peter and Angela race to uncover a centuries-old secret before they become its next victim.

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Easy Go - On Sale 8/22/23

Written as John Lange – 1967
A fun heist caper and a wild romp through the Great Pyramids and beyond. Egyptologist Harold Barnaby has just made the discovery of the century. While retranslating some old hieroglyphs he has found clues to the location of a pharaoh’s lost tomb. But this discovery leads him to make the ultimate choice: Rather than share his find with the rest of the world, Professor Barnaby is determined to locate the tomb and keep whatever treasure he finds inside for himself. But to pull off the greatest heist in archaeological history, Barnaby will need help. Enter Robert Pierce, a transient freelance writer looking for excitement. They put together a five-man team including a smuggler, an international thief, and the fifth Earl of Wheatston to bankroll the project and set out to plunder the pharaoh’s lost tomb. But can this ragtag team survive the perils of the Egyptian desert and uncover what the centuries have kept hidden? And even if they find the treasure, can they escape with it alive?

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The Venom Business - On Sale 9/26/23

Written as John Lange – 1969
Crisp dialogue and sultry prose combine to weave an intricate web of intrigue greed and murder. Charles Raynaud has found the perfect cover for his smuggling operation running out of Mexico, because how many custom agents are going to want to inspect a carton of venomous snakes? When Raynaud runs into his old Yale buddy Richard Pierce, a chance to play bodyguard feels like even easier money. Pierce has a large inheritance coming, but a series of thwarted attempts on his buddy’s life makes Charles begin to smell a rat. Who’s really trying to kill whom? And why is Charles starting to believe that he’s the real target?

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Drug of Choice - On Sale 10/24/23

Written as John Lange – 1970
Not everything on Eden is as it seems. Or maybe nothing is. Two patients in comas not expected to live: when they both recover sharing the same bizarre symptom of blue urine it’s a medical miracle that Dr. Roger Clark cannot explain. One of the patients happens to be Sharon Wilder, a beautiful Hollywood starlet. When she offers Dr. Clark the chance to accompany her to the private Caribbean island called Eden, he has to accept – if only to learn more about the bioengineering company Advance Inc. and their promise to make your wildest dreams come true. What he discovers there will be the most shocking discovery of his life on an island paradise where nothing is as it seems.

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Odds On - On Sale 11/21/23

Written as John Lange – 1966
Will a perfectly planned heist be foiled by three perfectly beautiful women? Steven Jencks has planned the perfect crime. Working with two skilled associates he will hit the Reina, a super-luxury hotel off the coast of Spain, and then walk away with the haul of a lifetime. As the ultimate pro, Jencks has even run his plan through a complex computer simulation to account for every possible variable… Except three. Their names are Annette, Cynthia, and Jenny. And no computer could ever simulate what these three femmes fatales have up their sleeves.

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Scratch One - On Sale 12/5/23

Written as John Lange – 1969
A pulp-fiction thrill ride through a deadly case of mistaken identity. Playboy Roger Carr is handsome, wealthy, and connected. As an occasional lawyer, he’s the right man to send to the French Riviera to secure a villa for an important client. It’s the perfect assignment, complete with fast cars and fast women, until strange things begin to happen and Roger realizes that someone is trying to kill him. A ruthless terrorist organization called the Associates is carrying out assassinations from Egypt to Denmark. To stop them the CIA orders their own super assassin – a man who bears a striking resemblance to Roger Carr – to intercept the Associates in France. The CIA assassin never shows up but the clueless counselor does and now he finds himself on the run from some of the world’s deadliest terrorists.

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In His Own Words

I began writing as a medical student, and felt that I would continue as a doctor and ought to protect my patients from the fear that they might pop up in the pages of a thriller. The best protection would not be to disguise them, but to disguise me. Once I decided not to practice medicine, I dropped the pseudonyms except for convenience. I wrote too much, so I decided to publish some books under false names, and in that way, could publish more books.

Michael Crichton

From the Archives

“The Crichton Strain” – BinaryReview Time magazine, May 8, 1972
“A Novel of Anti-Heroes, Anti-Heroines” – The Venom Business Review The Sunday Star, July 27, 1969

In His Own Words

My feeling about the Lange books is that my competition is in-flight movies. One can read the books in an hour and a half and be more satisfactorily amused than watching Doris Day. I write them fast and the reader reads them fast and I get things off my back.

Ad for Zero Cool

Behind the Scenes
of Pursuit

Michael wrote an article for TV Guide magazine called: “What happened when an author became a director and found himself dealing with two old pros”. Here is an excerpt:

“At one point, E.G. had to make a maniacal political speech. Before we shot, he said, “I do a lot of speaking around the country for health-care legislation. I’ll just do this the way I normally do.” I was horrified: he’s so reasonable, so persuasive. He put his hand on my arm. “I’m just kidding,” he said. I relaxed enough to suggest he do it as if he were a well-known rabid political figure. He said fine.

The cameras rolled and E.G. Marshall turned into a madman. His eyes glowed, he pounded the podium; he was unquestionably insane, and very disturbing to watch. When the shot was finished, he stood back and chuckled. “How was that?” he said.

The next day, when I saw the film, I realized that he had in fact used all the mannerisms, the gestures and movements, of the political figure I’d mentioned.

Ben was equally astounding. He wore glasses, placing a terrible technical burden on him. Often he couldn’t move his head at all, or his glasses would catch the lights. It never impaired his performance.

At one point we were shooting in the airport. Ben was among a crowd of passengers arriving from a flight. I wanted the camera to single him out in this crowd, and follow him. We tried it, but the camera operator couldn’t find Gazzara. Afterward, I said, “Ben, the camera can’t find you.”

“Okay, I’ll take care of it.”

“Yeah, but don’t you want …”

“Don’t worry. I’ll take care of it.”

And he did. Don’t ask me how.

“A Novel of Anti-Heroes, Anti-Heroines” – The Venom Business Review The Sunday Star, July 27, 1969

In His Own Words

Eleven months after Barry Diller at ABC gave the go-ahead, Pursuit was finished. It was planned, shot, looped, edited, scored and dubbed; it was all over. I had made a lot of mistakes and the picture showed most of them (at least to me, having seen it more than a hundred times). But I remain enthusiastic about it, grateful to the actors and crew who kept me out of trouble and eager to do it again.

Orson Wells once said that movies were the best set of electric trains a boy ever had. He was right.

Pursuit (Movie)

Release Date: December 12, 1973
Running Time: 1 hrs. 13 min.
MPAA: TV Movie – Not Rated
Director: Michael Crichton
Screenwriter: Robert Dozier
Based on the Novel Binary By: Michael Crichton
Studio: 20th Century Fox Television
Starring: Ben Gazzara, E.G. Marshall, William Windom

In His Own Words

I had never directed anything before Pursuit, a movie for television based on a book (Binary) I had written. Like all new directors, I wanted to do something a little bit different. The story was unusual enough: a race against the clock between a madman who wants to nerve-gas a political convention and the government agent who has to stop him. The film takes place over a single day, with lots of action and a certain amount of violence.

I was very nervous and fully aware of my incompetence to do what I was telling everybody I could do. On the first day of shooting, the insurance doctor took my blood pressure. It was 160/115, which is high enough to whisk you straight to a hospital bed. E.G. Marshall (playing the madman) and Ben Gazzara (playing the government agent) found this very amusing. I found nothing amusing at all. I had admired these men for years. Inside me was a tiny screaming voice: You’re going to tell these guys what to do? Are you out of your mind?

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