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Wednesday, October 09, 2013

A Feast of John Lange, Err...Michael Crichton

The best news in publishing, at least at my house, is Hard Case Crime is reissuing the eight novels Michael Crichton published between 1966 and 1972 as by John Lange.  The John Lange novels are superior adventure thrillers strong on plot and action, generally (but not always) set in exotic locations with everyman protagonists.  The majority of the titles have been out of print for decades and cost a small fortune on the secondary market, which is why I’ve read most instead of all. 

I spent the better part of my youth (and a good deal of my adulthood) trolling bookstores with a single goal: FIND A JOHN LANGE TITLE!  And I found most of them (and a bunch of Oliver Lange), but wow a few were elusive, which is about to change because all eight are going to be issued in fashionable trade paperbacks with terrific artwork by Hard Case.  The only problem; will I be able to stop looking for them?

The following is a listing of the John Lange titles in chronological order.  I included the cover art for both the new Hard Case Crime edition, and any other covers I know of (because I love old paperback cover art).

Odds On.  Originally published as a paperback original by Signet in 1966.  This is Crichton’s first published novel, and it is one of the titles I haven’t read.  The cover art is by Glen Orbik.      
   
Scratch One.  Originally published as a paperback original by Signet in 1967.  Scratch One is one of the weaker John Lange titles.  The cover art is by Glen Orbik.

 
Easy Go.  Originally published as a paperback original by Signet in 1968.  It was reissued by Bantam with the title The Last Tomb.  This is one of the better John Lange titles.  The cover art is by Glen Orbik.  Read the Gravetapping review.

 
Zero Cool.  Originally published as a paperback original by Signet in 1969.  This title was reissued by HCC in 2008 as a mass market paperback with cover art by Gregory Manchess.  The cover art will not change, but the book size will be increased to trade paperback.  Read the Gravetapping review.

 
The Venom Business.  Originally published as a hardcover in 1969 by World Publishing Company.  This is another of the titles I have yet to read.  The cover art is by Gregory Manchess.

 
Drug of Choice.  Originally published as a paperback original by Signet.  Yet another title I haven’t read.  This was also issued under the title OverkillThe cover art is by Gregory Manchess.

 
Grave Descend.  Originally published as a paperback original by Signet in 1970.  This title was short listed for the best paperback original Edgar Award.  This title was resissued by HCC in 2006 as a mass market paperback with cover art by Gregory Manchess.  The cover is the same, but the size changes to a trade paperback.

Binary.  Originally published as a hardcover by Alfred A. Knopf in 1972.  This title was translated into a television movie directed by Michael Crichton in 1972 titled “Pursuit”.  The novel is the best of the John Lange titles, but the film was somewhat disappointing.  The cover art is by Glen Orbik.  Read the Gravetapping review.

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