Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “A Case of Need” as Want to Read:
A Case of Need
Jeffery Hudson
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

A Case of Need

3.57 of 5 stars 3.57  ·  rating details  ·  13,552 ratings  ·  382 reviews
Was it murder? Was it horrible botched surgery - accidental malpractice? Was someone in the great Boston medical center violating the Hippocratic oath? No one knows exactly...Only one doctor is willing to push his way through the mysterious maze of hidden medical data and shocking secrets to learn the truth. This explosive medical thriller by the bestselling author of "Dis ...more
Published May 21st 1974 by Signet (first published 1968)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.
This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Crichton's first published book. PUblished when he was 26. Oh, the envy. You can really see his medical training here, as well as the unavoidable road to his eventual creation of ER.
I'm a sucker for a book that I'll learn something from and this one has footnotes and appendices for further medical background and explanations. There is a good look into the behind the scenes of a hospital.

The plot revolves around the issue of abortion in the late sixties. I'm guesstimating at the year because it
Nov 30, 2008 Barbara rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who like medical suspense novels.
Shelves: fiction-mystery
This is the first Michael Crichton book I've read, and I couldn't put it down. The pervading theme was the moral and ethical decisions doctors had to make concerning abortions -- performing them, knowingly not reporting (and, in fact, covering for)reputable doctors who performed them in hospital settings. This book was originally published under the name of Jeffery Hudson in 1968 when abortion was still illegal in the USA, and may have been intended to stir the public to legalize it. I personall ...more
John Mcconahey
If you’re a doctor, you’ll probably love this book. After all, Crichton attended Harvard Medical School and is certainly knowledgeable of the medical practices and techniques in effect at the time of publication (1968). If you’re a determined layman, have a dictionary close at hand while you follow this plot. Just be aware, this isn’t a book for fast reading (if you really want to know what the terms that are used mean) and it's heavily footnoted and apendicized. But, don’t let that discourage y ...more
This book would be classified under, “Medical Fiction” because it deals with medical surgeons, and doctors trying to unravel the mystery of the murder or suicide of Karen Randall. Dr. Lee a young pathologist is accused of an illegal abortion. Art Lee’s lawyer didn’t want to deal with the case so he abandoned him with no help. When John Berry heard about this crisis he came to help his friend and try to find the real story of the death of Karen Randall. As he finds later in the novel, the history ...more
Overall a very enjoyable read. For me it was a fantastic insight into the behaviours and attitudes of the time. The beginnings of black people emerging into a predominately white society, the role of women, views on coloured immigrants, the climate of the time, the attitudes towards abortion. A fantastic picture of the time was painted.

I was happy to note that even the protagonist was imperfect in his ways and it came through naturally, not as if it had been added for flavour. All characters we
This book started really well. There was a dead patient, a daughter of a famous doctor and a friend of the protagonist was accused doing the abortion that led to the death of the patient.
It was intriguing (though I am not sure that a layman could enjoy reading it uninterrupted without consulting google or dictionary) and the plot was built really well.
Half through the book, I have to admit that I couldn't put it down until I finished
My problem with this book is there was some unsolved mysteries
I like medical fiction....medical thrillers really, and this is just okay. It's more like he's SHOWING you a story instead of telling you a story.

It's very dated. Written in 1968, when abortion was illegal. The names are dated, the way they dress, some of the settings. Why would a random middle aged guy be allowed to sit in a girl's dorm alone to "question" her without suspicions being raised? Some of line of med and law is blurred.

It's an ok read. It passes quickly.

1968. I was in college near Boston. One of my housemates, a girl I didn't know well, was pregnant. Her roommate learned that the ex-boyfriend and father, a pre-med student, was planning to perform an amateur abortion. This was 5 years before Roe v. Wade. My housemates, all urban people, were galvanized into action, calling friends and even their mothers to locate a safe abortionist. I really had nothing to contribute except hand-wringing. The girl eventually decided to have the baby, and I think ...more
Kevin Beary
Michael Crichton , a favorite author of mine`s , first book. I have read some favorable amazon reviews but must differ from them. I gave it a 3 rating so I liked it as the book kept my interest and I enjoyed the medical knowledge (or future knowledge when I look up a half-dozen items) it contained. But , the drama of his later books are clearly superior , and I think it is obvious that this is a weaker precursor of greater things to come. Some touted the plot twists , or the writing , or the con ...more
Deborah Leitch
Although I am a Michael Crichton fan, I found this story quite disappointing. The lack of a villain to drive the plot leaves the main character stumbling across clues, and making assumptions for which there was no foretelling. It lacks the conflict and tension that his usual stories have. The other distracting feature is that in spite of his being a physician and his including multiple appendixes to explain medical terminology, the actual medical scenes are completely unrealistic and would never ...more
I enjoyed this book bc it was about the taboo topic of abortion. The characters were well developed and the main character of John Berry was interesting to follow. Another thing i really enjoyed about this book was the scattering of medical jargon within the text. It was like a reality episode of ER or some other popular medical drama. Although i have seen the subject of an abortion going wrong and the patient dying, this was a very good perception. The one thing that wasn't believable was the t ...more
It might just be pregnant brain, but I had a hard time keeping the characters straight in this novel. There were a number of really important people (one in particular) who were briefly introduced, and then I had forgotten who they were by the time they showed up again at critical junctions. Also, reading as someone who is anti-death in a context where abortion is the accepted norm, the story seems a little less than timely. I know it was topical when it was published, but 30 years is a long tim ...more
Too medical. Lots of medical terms. Sometimes the story doesn't even explain the terms. It just went thru with it and I can only hope that it will revealed later on. Sometimes too exhausted to read.

Sames as Disclosure, this story is outlined to have be done within the week. So the tempo is quite fast, though sometimes it's just too confusing to follow the main character "interogating" other characters. I think that the many characters were meant to distract the reader to know who the bad guy is
I like Michael Crichton - Jurrassic Park anyone? This book came from the never-ending magical box o' paperbacks my neighbor gave me and I was pleasantly surprised. It is Crichton's debut novel and was written in the late sixties. Surprisingly, the time frame didn't bother me and was really a non-factor. It was a classic medical who-dun-it with a large (too large) cast of characters and a regular guy trying to figure things out. Didn't much care about any of the characters, but the story held my ...more
Having already read quite a few Michael Crichton books, I can tell that if I hadn't known this book was his before reading it, I could easily have told after reading only a few pages.

Already at the time (1968) he had pretty much mastered his style of writing, having a great way to balance descriptions, personal thoughts by the main character, and really really good dialogues, here mainly in the form of interrogation scenes.

What wasn't the best were the characters. Now don't get me wrong, I think
Πάνος Τουρλής
Αχ Θε μου αυτός ο Κράιτον. Δεύτερο βιβλίο που διαβάζω κι έχω πάνω κάτω την ίδια άποψη με το Μετά. Τώρα είναι ακόμη χειρότερα τα πράγματα μιας και το βιβλίο το έγραψε τη δεκαετία του 1960, με ψευδώνυμο και μάλιστα όντας φοιτητής της Ιατρικής. Λοιπόν το βιβλίο γενικά είναι κάπως καλό. Η υπόθεση μπορεί να σε παρασύρει και να αναρωτιέσαι για το δολοφόνο. ΟΜΩΣ....Προχειρογραμμένο, χωρίς βάθος χαρακτήρων, χωρίς αναλύσεις, κινηματογραφικοί διάλογοι και ΠΟΛΥ ιατρική ορολογία, δηλαδή έλεος. Σε πολλά σημε ...more
This is was Michael Crichton's first published novel written under a pseudonym. To many characters that I really didn't care about set in the 60's about a doctor trying to prove his friend was innocent of a botched illegal abortion. It try's to raise the ethical and moral questions of the legality of abortion through the eyes of the medical profession. It was a quick and forgettable read that showed that Michael Crichton's writing got better with age and experience. My favorite is still The Prey ...more
Felipe Lerma
This is the fourth early Michael Crichton novel (penned as Jeffery Hudson) I've read since the first book I read of his, "State of Fear." I'm working my way through his other-name work to get a feel for how his writing developed. So far, each of the four first early books have a distinctive feel of being different somehow. Yes, there's meticulous scientific or historical research and details. And most of all, a sense of authority and calm power in the prose. Yet each story is its own.

"A Case of
Julia Fisher
I found this 1968 Michael Crichton book at my local library sale. It was interesting to read a book written almost 50 years ago. If you keep that in mind while you read the book, you'll enjoy it more and I gave it 4 stars from that perspective. I have read and enjoyed all of Michael Crichton's books, so being that this is one of his early novels & the time it was written, I gave him some slack when he paints women as weak, all the doctors were men and the African American in the story is a " ...more
Joy Urban
There are two prominent creases in the spine of this book because for the most part, I read it in three long sittings. That seems to happen a lot with Crichton & me; two is a coincidence, three is a pattern, and this is his third work that I have read.

I'm still surprised it was one of the first things he ever wrote, and I had to keep reminding myself that this was written by a med student, and in 1968 to boot. Then he uses the word "Negro" consistently to describe one of the two black charac
Pujiyanto stiffy
iki tumbenan ga ada sentuhan scifi, tapi tetep sih temanya masih ga jauh-jauh dari ilmiah.
Kali ini temanya dari dunia medis, entah kalau yang baca orang-orang medis apakah bakalan protes di sana-sini karena novel ini. memakai teori serta istilah medis banyak banget yang bagiku sih luar biasa!!
Kisahnya sendiri cukup bikin penasaran karena ada unsur detektif-detektifan, mengenai seorang Dokter Patologi yang berusaha membuktikan bahwa temannya bukan pelaku pembunuhan terkait kasus aborsi yang menim
Quick airplane read, but oddly, Crichton's best work from an execution point of view. Nowhere else was his writing more concise yet detailed than in this book. And the surprise turns of the plot were incredibly engaging.
Sam Arnold
Not my sort of thing this although I normally love Michael Crichton. The story was too weak. The plot was held up with either complicated medical information of padding that had no real reference to the plot at all.
Another ok book for taking along on a plane. My cheif complaint was the number of bit characters whose names were almost impossible to keep straight. Second would be the amount of medical lingo, which got old.
A pretty good medical mystery set in the days when abortions were illegal. Interesting how our world's ethics and morals have changed.
Etammy40 Elliott
Well written medical murder mystery. Enjoyed it.
i read this ages ago so this is a somewhat removed review. i loved this book. im a big sucker for crichton and this book did not disappoint. the story itself was great but what fascinated me the most was looking at the snapshot of history that this book portrays. i was born as abortion was being legalized. i grew up in a world away from backstreet operations but this book still held weight for me. it was also interesting and a bit unsettling to see that the same dilemmas and moral conundrums are ...more
JSC Shootaboot
This is a great book - even if the author repeats words. I like that it was not edited out, printed in Australia and India : a patient arrives in ER at 4 a.m. bleeding profusely, in shock (brought by a step mother), described as moribund, her temp 102, short of breath, with a racing pulse, low blood pressure, speaking - complaining of thirst, pale.... She died in 20 minutes
Jessica Lave
I wasn't expecting to like this book as much as I did. I only picked it up to do some genre research for my own writing, but once I got into it, it was hard to put down. It's very fast paced, and told in the first person. It's also a pretty complex mystery the narrator is trying to work out- though I can't say it kept me guessing because I hardly put it down long enough to guess at anything!

The medical stuff isn't too heavy for a layperson, and it's the questions the narrator asks and whodunit
A Case of Need is Michael Crichton's first book. He wrote it write after finishing medical school in the late 60s so this was definitely a field of study which he was very knowledgeable about. In fact, that became Crichton's reputation, was to intensely study the subjects about which he wrote.

In A Case of Need the story follows a doctor, Dr. John Berry, working in Boston in the late 60s. When a very powerful colleague's daughter, Karen Randall, dies from a botched abortion another colleague, Dr.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Goodreads Librari...: How to handle pseudonyms 7 203 Dec 20, 2012 10:50PM  
Medical 1 27 Apr 03, 2008 06:21PM  
  • Five Patients
  • Binary (Hard Case Crime MC8)
  • Recoil
  • Deep as the Marrow
  • The Union Club Mysteries

Share This Book

“Morality must keep up with technology because if a person is faced with the choice of being moral and dead or immoral and alive, they'll choose life everytime.” 15 likes
“One reason abortion remained illegal was because it was so safe.” 6 likes
More quotes…