Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Binary” as Want to Read:
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview


3.5  ·  Rating details ·  2,269 Ratings  ·  136 Reviews
A duel to the death between a mad millionaire who wants to destroy San Diego and the cool, tough government agent who must stop him.
Paperback, 213 pages
Published December 31st 1972 by Alfred A. Knopf (first published 1972)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Binary, please sign up.

Popular Answered Questions

Loyal Phillips-Kuhn Amazon -Kindle Books, Amazon also has the reader for PC, etc.
This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
Rating details
Sort: Default
This book was obviously well researched just like all of Crichton's books. I always find that thrilling, especially when it's about something dangerous, like explosives and nerve gas in this title. The low stars are not for that, nor are they due to the pacing. This was a perfect title for Hard Case Crime, thrilling and told at breakneck speed. The low stars are for lack of depth.

Crichton isn't known for creating characters. It's the situation of his tales that really grab the reader. Often that
Oct 20, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a fun page turning thriller - yes its says John Lange and yes its a pseudonym for Michael Crichton - in fact there are several other books written under this pseudonym but thats for another day.

This book is a fast pace thriller - a case of catch them if they can (in time). Yes the story sacrifices pace over depth and as such you feel that characters are never really properly fleshed out which is a shame since there are hints of a more deeper physiological cat and mouse battle forming bet
Aug 24, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime
Not a bad book, fairly loose plot, page turner but nothing in depth to really engage the brain. Written in 1972 so to read it now has some unintentional funny moments - like when they are trying to discuss the easiest and quickest way to send information. Our MC is forced to go to the police station (he is on the force) to receive his fax from the photo copier........ email anyone?

The book is all about a fast paced plot, leaving out any deep descriptions of people or places, if to compare it is
George K.
Jul 23, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Από την τελευταία φορά που διάβασα κάποιο βιβλίο του Μάικλ Κράιτον πέρασαν πάνω από δυο χρόνια και η αλήθεια είναι ότι μου έλειψε λιγάκι. Βέβαια εδώ έχουμε να κάνουμε μ'ένα παλπ μυθιστόρημα που έγραψε ο Κράιτον με το ψευδώνυμο Τζον Λαντζ, όταν ακόμα σπούδαζε και δεν είχε αρχίσει την μεγάλη καριέρα του ως συγγραφέας, οπότε δεν μιλάμε για τον κλασικό Κράιτον. Με το ψευδώνυμο αυτό έγραψε συνολικά οχτώ βιβλία, πάνω-κάτω της ίδιας αισθητικής και ποιότητας, τα οποία ανήκουν πλέον στην τρομερή σειρά πα ...more
Jun 09, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fast, easy, fun, and masculine to a ludicrous degree. So, pretty much exactly what you want when you pick up a pulp novel to read over the summer break. It was cool getting to read a Michael Crichton book from before he was THE Michael Crichton. Kind of feels like watching batting practice at a major league ballgame, or showing up to the symphony early and hearing all the instruments get tuned up.

Something that did surprise me about this book that sets it apart from most other pulp novels: abso
Dec 04, 2010 rated it it was ok
Grade: B- ...John Lange (an early psuedonym used by Michael Crichton)wrties a rather ho-hum novel in Binary. The most interesting thing is reading this book as a time capsule of cutting edge computer technology circa 1972.
Adrian McCarthy
A straightforward thriller with a little touch of Crichton-esque techy complication thrown in. A very fast read. Not much in the way of characters, which seems typical for Crichton. (I'm not sure why one of the editions shows a woman on the cover. None of the characters in the story are women; there are only a couple small references to the sexual conquests of one of the men.)

Even though this was written in the early '70s, it has some interesting connections to today. John Graves, the hero, has
One of Michael Crichton's very first efforts (which he wrote under a pen name), BINARY is a very mediocre novel, but still pretty amazing considering how young Crichton was when he wrote it. Crichton would later use it as the basis for his directorial debut, a 1972 TV movie called PURSUIT. It's the story of two brilliant men, a government agent and a cold-blooded terrorist, who see each other as long-sought-out adversaries and can't resist playing a series of mind games with each other. The fate ...more
Al Young
Mar 12, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This is one of the novellas Crichton wrote as he put himself through med school. Obviously, this is of interest to more of a few people, so it's been reprinted a few times. In fact, one recent cover of this book makes it look like something out of Chandler/Ellroy/Sin City pulp fiction (which it isn't even close to).

That said, it is some of Crichton's early work as a pulp writer. That seems contradictory, maybe oxymoronic, but Pulp Crichton is actually exactly what you think it might be. It's pul
Mar 14, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
You see that naked woman on the cover? What the bloody f$%^ is that about? There is one hooker being interviewed, for a grand total of maybe a quarter of a page, and she provides no useful info whatsoever.

It's not terrible, but if it wasn't quite so cringe- and facepalm-inducing, it would have fared much, much better.

(if you know that a super-smart dude has acquired a considerable quantity of [deadly stuff] and a variety of [unusual supplies], of *course* the rational approach is to not pick him
Nov 11, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: soft
reads like a wake-up call
Alan Vecchio
This could of been a good thriller if the author (John Lange aka Michael Crichton) had not made his main characters so dense, gullible and down right stupid. These "heroes" are supposed to be highly trained intelligence officers but, throughout the book, they can't figure out the simplest clues that are staring them in the face.
Mar 14, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: adventure, spy
In the scheme of things, "Binary" was Michael Crichton's 11th book (8th under the Lange pen-name) and yet it has the feel of being much less developed, not just in plot and characterization, but in execution as well. Perhaps the author felt a bit ill at ease in writing a purely political/spy thriller, or having to rely on a unbelievable politically conservative lunatic for a villain, or countering the villain with the fiction of a competent civil servant. Or maybe he just couldn't work up any en ...more
May 03, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was an exciting read and kept my attention the whole time. It wasn't as good as some of Crichton's others but I still enjoyed it.
Vishnu Bhaskaran
Feb 25, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A fast paced techno thriller that is best of its kind.
Dec 27, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
For me, "Binary," by John Lange (a.k.a. Michael Crichton), is the least interesting of the Hard Case Crime "Lange" novels I've read so far. I'm used to Lange novels being full of exotic locales, sexy women, and serious amounts of intrigue. Or I was, until "Binary."

"Binary" (from 1972, with love) is a dated, paint-by-numbers, "ripped from the headlines" kind of thriller--set in the FAR from exotic locale of San Diego. A rich, right-wing nutjob named Wright has a plan to wipe out the Republican Na
Aug 19, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017-books
This short novel by Michael Crichton writing as John Lange early in his career, was actually the last one of 10 he wrote under a pseudonym between 1966 and 1972, 3 years after his first novel published under his own name, The Andromeda Strain, hit the best seller lists.

Binary is a thriller about the chase to prevent an insane man about to unleash a chemical weapon on San Diego on the weekend of the Republican Primary, with the President in attendance. What the naked woman on the book cover has t
Jennifer Ulrich
Mar 12, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Pretty decent read. Graves is a smooth, clever, likeable character. Pinned against Wright, Graves has met his match. The story was entertaining and moved concisely. I only wish the ending wasn't so predictable. It all seemed too easy, I saw the twist coming a mile away. Good,easy read though. I'm still trying to figure out why there is a naked girl on the cover...
Exciting finish. Deranged but brilliant villain. The ending investigation and recommendations were not implemented showing the massive waste of resources used to achieve nothing. Isn't government grand.
Oct 27, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
You can see the young Michael Crichton teeing up here to what became his usual plot structure and set of characters, but Binary doesn't generate half as much interest or suspense as his better-known books.
Jan 04, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
There isn't much to say. This was a straightforward read with a level of complexity equivalent to the title: binary. Was it easy to follow? Yes. Was it engaging? No. Was it well written? Yes. Would I read it again? No.
I am a world-class Michael Crichton fan but this is only the second novel I've read from his med school years…back when he wrote under one of three pseudonyms. These books read more like Clive Cussler’s action adventures than a typical Crichton techno-thriller. Still, no complaints – a fun read.
Gar Wiggs
Jun 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A great beginning of a long and productive life!

Well crafted story. Kept my attention throughout the book. As a fan of Critchner, I was pleased to see his early works published.
Nov 27, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
not great, but quick and easy enough. can pretty well see Crichton's research spilling out in front of you. interesting that we had virtually zero interest or background to any of the characters, it was all just pure action and plot. im never going to read it again but i dont regret that i did.
William Stafford
Something of a page-turner, this cat and mouse game between criminal mastermind and government agent plays out well even though some of the clues are so clearly signposted a blind man on a galloping horse could spot them.
Meg Harrison
Jan 15, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A sciency thriller. Very good, a bit of a modern Agatha Christie almost. Unsure of why there's a naked woman on the cover of the book.
Agreeably dated page turner. Prescient, influential and prophetic. Enjoyable dialogue
Chief Ben
So so

Crichton has written better . Since this is an early work , I can understand why it doesn't compare to his later novels. He is still one of my favorites.
Jun 18, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A shallow, junk food style fiction that is a good mindless time killer.
May 12, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Quick read, that is well worth the time
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Goodreads Librari...: Binary by Michael Crichton 3 190 Jun 28, 2017 02:02PM  
Conflict Action T...: Elements of a Story: Binary by John Lange 1 3 Apr 03, 2013 04:50PM  
  • The Rip-Off
  • The Consummata
  • Dealing, or The Berkeley-To-Boston Forty-Brick Lost-Bag Blues
  • Crime Wave: Reportage and Fiction from the Underside of L.A.
  • Electronic Life
  • Blood on the Mink (Hard Case Crime #106)
  • The Wrong Quarry (Quarry #11)
  • Easy Death (Hard Case Crime #117)
  • Say It With Bullets (Hard Case Crime #18)
  • Stop This Man! (Hard Case Crime #58)
  • The Guns of Heaven (Hard Case Crime #24)
  • Kill Now, Pay Later (Ben Gates #3)
  • The Astronaut's Wife
  • Honey in his Mouth (Hard Case Crime, #60)
John Lange is a pseudonym of author Michael Crichton. His pen name was selected as reference to his above-average height of 6' 9"(2.06 meters). Lange means "tall one" in German, Danish and Dutch.
More about John Lange...

Mystery & Thrillers Deals

  • Fractured
    $3.99 $1.99
  • Never Smile at Strangers
    $3.99 $1.99
  • Furious (Faith McMann Trilogy #1)
    $3.99 $2
  • Where Eagles Dare
    $3.99 $1.99
  • Alone
    $17.99 $2.99
  • Moriarty (Sherlock Holmes, #2)
    $11.99 $2.99
  • Period 8
    $6.74 $0.99
  • The Guns of Navarone
    $5.99 $2.99
  • Idaho
    $12.99 $1.99
  • Dead Letters
    $11.99 $1.99
  • Phantom (Alexander Hawke, #7)
    $8.99 $1.99
  • Working Fire
    $3.99 $2.00
  • The Barkeep
    $4.49 $1.99
  • Blur  (Blur Trilogy #1)
    $3.99 $1.99
  • Her Last Day (Jessie Cole, #1)
    $3.99 $2.00
  • Moving Day
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Man-Eater: The Life and Legend of an American Cannibal
    $3.99 $1.99
  • Smoke
    $3.99 $1.99
  • Unrivaled (Beautiful Idols #1)
    $2.99 $0.99
  • Secrets of Southern Girls: A Novel
    $15.99 $1.99
  • Dorchester Terrace (Charlotte & Thomas Pitt, #27)
    $11.99 $1.99
  • Paragon Walk (Charlotte & Thomas Pitt, #3)
    $8.99 $1.99
  • Flower Net (Red Princess, #1)
    $7.99 $1.99
  • The Grave Tender
    $3.99 $1.99
  • Heartwood
    $7.99 $2.99
  • Ugly Young Thing (Strangers #2)
    $3.99 $1.99
  • Before I Go to Sleep
    $8.24 $2.99
  • When You Reach Me
    $7.99 $1.99
  • Pretty Little Things
    $4.49 $1.99
“was written before it became too embarrassing for the Republican party to hold its 1972 convention in San Diego, and I preferred not to follow the convention to Miami Beach.” 0 likes
More quotes…