Calling Michael Crichton multi-talented is like calling a Stradivarius a fiddle. The man graduated summa cum laude from Harvard, he lectured in anthropology at Cambridge, he was a doctor, he wrote bestselling novels from the time he was 27 on (The Andromeda Strain, The Great Train Robbery, Congo, Jurassic Park, Disclosure, Rising Sun, etc., etc.), he wrote and/or directed hit movies (Westworld, Coma, Twister), he created one of the most successful TV series ever (ER), he designed computer games (Amazon) - and if that's not enough, he was nearly seven feet tall and ridiculously handsome to boot. If you had to imagine someone who would not have a reason to wish he was someone else, it would be hard to come up with a better candidate.
Yet early in his career Michael Crichton did choose to be someone else -- a fellow named John Lange.
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In 2012, Hard Case Crime published Ariel S. Winter’s first novel, The Twenty Year Death, to unprecedented acclaim. In a full-page review, the New York Times called it “extraordinary,” “ambitious” and “beautifully built,” while the UK Literary Supplement called it “undoubtedly an original tour de force,” and the Los Angeles Times wrote “It's the author's ambition that attracts… his sense of reaching beyond our expectations of what a book like this (or, really, any book) can do” before choosing it as a finalist for the L.A. Times Book Prize. These outstanding reviews came on the heels of advance praise from authors ranging from Stephen King and Peter Straub to Alice Sebold, John Banville, and James Frey: “Not content with writing one first novel like ordinary mortals, Ariel Winter has written three -- and in the style of some of the most famous crime writers of all time for good measure. It's a virtuoso act of literary recreation that's both astonishingly faithful and wildly, audaciously original.” Read the rest
Charles Ardai looks to the past, and past angry internet message boards, to find something worth cherishing in a new novel.