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Publisher's Summary

The death of a doctor’s daughter may be malpractice - or murder - in this novel by a #1 New York Times-bestselling author: “I loved it” (Stephen King).

In the tightly knit world of Boston medicine, the Randall family reigns supreme. When heart surgeon J. D. Randall’s teenage daughter dies during a botched abortion, the medical community threatens to explode. Was it malpractice? A violation of the Hippocratic Oath? Or was Karen Randall murdered in cold blood?

The natural suspect is Arthur Lee, a brilliant surgeon and known abortionist, who has been carrying out the illegal procedure with the help of pathologist John Berry. After Karen dies, Lee is thrown in jail on a murder charge, and only Berry can prove his friend wasn’t the one who wielded the scalpel. Behind this gruesome death, Berry will uncover a secret that would shock even the most hardened pathologist. 

An Edgar Award-winning novel by the author of such blockbusters as The Andromeda Strain and Jurassic Park - and creator of the long-running NBC drama ER - A Case of Need is a “superb” medical-thriller mystery (Los Angeles Times).

©1968, 1996 by Jeffery Hudson; Copyright renewed 1996 by CrichtonSun LLC (P)2015 Brilliance Audio, all rights reserved.

What listeners say about A Case of Need

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Not Mr Cricghton's Best Work

First, let me say I was a Michael Crichton fan and an avid listener of his later works. Second, I'm glad I never encountered this early work because it might have put me off reading his later and much better works. The constant use of footnotes explaining the medical jargon that permeated the first part of the book was jarring. The book was written in 1968 and is more about abortion than actual detective work. Most definitely not a thriller.

If you're not familiar with Crichton's works, don't let this one discourage you from reading his later works. You'll be missing out on a great writer if you do that.

Nick Podehi was excellent with the delivery of the story

27 people found this helpful

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A Case Of Need

As a OB- GYN nurse for 33+ years, this book was right down my alley.
I found it very enthralling and interesting, I especially liked all of the appendix info at the end!!!!! Good job!!!! 💐

10 people found this helpful

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Kept me listening all day!

As I make my way through Michael Crichton’s book catalog, I happened along A Case of Need. I didn’t read the blurb, but it was included in KU’s Read and Listen For Free so I grabbed it anyway. I listened to it all without stopping. I was a little surprised at the story being told in first person, but I understood by the end why that was. The story revolves around a medical pathologist whose friend gets busted for doing illegal abortions after a prominent girl dies. The pathologist takes it upon himself to solve the mystery and free his friend from jail while making sure the real abortionist pays for what they have done. Good mystery and lots of medical lingo that was reasonably explained—enough that I got the gist but not enough where I feel like I could go out and diagnose patients of my own. I did experience a little frustration with the MC a couple of times where his stubbornness became annoying and lasted for too many pages, but not enough to detract any stars. Good narrator—first one by Nick Podehl—and great range of voices. I thoroughly enjoyed this and will contemplate re-listening at some point in the future. As an aside, if you have strong anti-abortion beliefs, you might want to skip this one as the majority of the book spoke about abortion in a mostly positive light and the only anti-abortion people in the book were written as ignorant crazies. It didn’t bother me either way, but I could see as where it might bother some.

3 people found this helpful

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Interesting in unexpected ways

This is one of the early Michael Crichton books he wrote as a med student, but it's clear that his talent for novel writing (the structure and language) is there already. His books zip along with interest and speed, without being too light and frivolous, and without being too heavy and ponderous. Good beach reads, and that's a talent of it's own.

The facts and social opinions of the day are dated and/or outmoded.....pre- Roe vs Wade and the national discussion on abortion, doctors' wives who keep homes, raise children, and gossip with each other, almost everyone smoked (including doctors), and doctors were referred to as almost exclusively male (as was the case in the late 60s, when med students were still 90% male). Still, I find that doesn't matter much to my enjoyment of the book.......none of those things really impact the narrative or the plot of the book except for the hesitancy of people to discuss abortions.

I found some unexpected things to be very interesting - the argument that the one of reason abortions were illegal was that they were relatively safe, and that if the morbidity and mortality rate were higher, there would be more pressure to allow them to be done (and obtained) legally. Also the depiction of how doctors truly do make the worst patients, and how doctors use language, knowledge, and a "one of the guys" code to protect themselves. Oh, and that it seemed everyone, including doctors, smoked.

Listen to the appendices - there's some interesting information and insight that Michael Crichton probably wanted to include but couldn't find a way -- but it's still very interesting.

10 people found this helpful

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Medical Thriller

This is an early work by Michael Crichton, writing as Jeffery Hudson. Since it was written in 1968, I found it interesting to read and remember how different things were in the late Sixties.

This book deals with a Doctor who is arrested after a young woman dies after having an abortion. Dr. Lee's friend, John Berry, is the protagonist in this book and it follows his attempt to clear his friend's name and find the true villain.

A lot of the book deals with talk about abortion and how things were when abortion wasn't legal. I also found it interesting that nearly all of the characters smoked (which was true for those times). Reading a book with everybody smoking, no cell phones, no Internet was a different experience.

The book was mostly an amateur detective romp, with Dr. Berry tracking down people, questioning them (without any authority) and getting into trouble. I did enjoy the medical aspects of the book and thought that they added a lot to the story.

The narrator, Nick Podehl, did a wonderful job and his pacing was perfect and kept my attention. If you are looking for an enjoyable medical thriller, this is pretty good. Just don't expect it to compare with Crichton's later works.

2 people found this helpful

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Classic

One of my very first Michael Crichton books. I've read it twice and really enjoyed listening to it. The narrator made it so vivid for me again like I was just reading it for the first time.

5 people found this helpful

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Not too bad

I listened, and I did truly enjoy it. It wasn't a struggle to listen. It wasn't unputdownable. I was glad when it was over. Overall, a mediocre Crichton.
It's difficult to say why I didn't like it as much as I usually like a Crichton, but I'll try.
There's very little real action. It's all detective work. So it's a detective story, not truly a "thriller". (But okay, I can live with that. Higashino wrote pure detective work, without a character so much as running, and I rated Suspect X as perhaps the best book on Audible.)
Unfortunately, the detective work is done by a pathologist. Now if this detective work had been done in the path lab, it could have risen to the level of brilliant. Unfortunately, this was done on the streets, so it could only rise to the level of ordinary.
The plot was nice.
So while the book was interesting, it never became VERY interesting.
Still, I never felt like I'd wasted a credit.

4 people found this helpful

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Excellent medical detective story

A great who-done-it in a medical setting. It was a bit dated, given that the laws have changed, but if the Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade, who knows? It could become a contemporary issue again.

1 person found this helpful

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A relevant tale of need even for today.

Dated but a telling product of its time and a window into a different era in modern medicine. I also thought the narrator was ingeniously skilled with the myriad of voices he created for the characters. Quite the range! I thoroughly enjoyed it to the end including all the appendices.

1 person found this helpful

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Good all around

I enjoyed this book a lot, and though the story is dated it held my interest for the entire book. I would have to say my favorite part about this book was the narrator's performance. He did an excellent job using different voices for different characters making it easy to distinguish who was talking at any given time. Story was good, not great like most Michael Crichton books.

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  • Mr. Dg Thomas
  • 03-18-19

catching

book starts off slow but gets better. very clever look on how medical procedures can go wrong and not always what you expect.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 03-18-18

Sleep inducing

Sleep inducing - I have persevered with - certainly not my choice of book - story was very dated

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  • Vicki Caesar
  • 06-05-17

Pros and cons of abortion

This was the most boring book I have had the misfortune to read (or listen to). No surprises, no I have to keep reading to find out what happens. It was like listening to a medical text book about whether abortion should be legalised or not. Main character also boring and annoying. He was not sure if he was a doctor or a lawyer. Don' t waste your money.
Vicki C.