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Binary (Hard Case Crime MC8)

3.5  ·  Rating details ·  2,100 Ratings  ·  130 Reviews
Political radical John Wright is plotting an act of mass destruction – and federal agent John Graves has him under surveillance, trying to figure out what the plot is.

When a government computer is hacked and a high-security shipment of nerve gas gets hijacked, Graves puts the pieces together – but can he stop Wright from unleashing his weapon before it kills a million peop
Hardcover, 169 pages
Published February 17th 1993 by Century (first published 1972)
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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
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
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  ·  review of another edition
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
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
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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
Jun 17, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-borrowed
John Lange was one of the early pen names of Michael Crichton, best known for The Andromeda Strain and Jurassic Park. While enrolled at Harvard Medical School, Crichton began publishing a number of novels. This is one of a number of Crichton's early novels that have recently been re-released by Hard Case Crime. The others are Scratch One, Zero Cool, Easy Go, The Venom Business, Odds On, Grave Descend, and Dealing. I have read a number of these already and, while not perfect, they are fun, light, ...more
Oct 15, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
While I've enjoyed these early Crichton books, I am confused by their covers. Take a look at this one - a fully nude woman front-and-center on the cover of a book that includes ZERO women. Um...why? Completely ridiculous.
Mar 14, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Hard not to like Lange/Crichton. No matter how hard you try to dismiss it as pulp fiction, it is just so compelling that you finish it with a flourish.
Jos M
I have a fondness for work produced in the "I've got to get paid" stage of an artist's career. Consequently, I was very pleased to find this early (one could almost say prehistoric) Crichton. I haven't read a Crichton in perhaps 10 years, however, an 8 hour plane flight represents the perfect Crichton-zone, and I actually enjoyed just churning through this.

This was bloody good fun. Basically, this follows a battle of wits between Graves and an evil terrorist called Wright who has dastardly plans
Jul 27, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was written by the late Michael Crichton, perhaps best known as the author of the blockbuster Jurassic Park, way back in 1972 under the pseudonym John Lange. It surfaced recently in ebook format, for a short time offered at for $1.99. Because I'm a huge Michael Crichton fan, I considered it a bargain and snapped it up immediately despite having only nine customer reviews at Amazon (although all are either 5 or 4 stars, so I wasn't terribly worried).

It is one of several books
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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 (Hard Case Crime #103)
  • 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...

Other Books in the Series

Hard Case Crime (1 - 10 of 112 books)
  • Grifter's Game (Hard Case Crime #1)
  • Fade to Blonde (Hard Case Crime #2)
  • Top of The Heap (Cool and Lamb #13)
  • Little Girl Lost (John Blank #1)
  • Two for the Money  (Hard Case Crime #5)
  • The Confession (Hard Case Crime #6)
  • Home Is the Sailor (Hard Case Crime #7)
  • Kiss Her Goodbye (Hard Case Crime #8)
  • 361 (Hard Case Crime #9)
  • Plunder of the Sun (Al Colby #2)

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