Before abandoning the practice with The Terminal Man in 1972, Michael Crichton actually published 10 of his first 11 titles under pseudonyms such as John Lange and Jeffery Hudson. The Andromeda Strain was the notable exception. While 2 of those titles were eventually republished under his own name, the rest were abandoned to the dusty shelves of used bookstores around the world, becoming collectibles for those who knew what to look for.
Easy Go, his third John Lange title, is one I came across a few years ago via a tattered paperback copy, re-titled The Last Tomb. Now available as part of Open Road Media's collection of The Med School Years, it's an amusing little adventure that offers some glimpses of the Crichton we've come to appreciate. It won't engage you on a moral, philosophical, or intellectual level like some of his better-known blockbusters, but it's perfect for a summer beach-read diversion.
Despite what you might initially think, especially from the cover, this is primarily the story of a heist, told with humor, à la Oceans Eleven. The characters are larger-than-life, bordering on the edge of parody, with all the over-exaggerated violence, sexuality, and macho-ism of the 70s. It's one of those so-bad-its-good kind of reads, one where you roll your eyes, but keep turning pages. There is an interesting archaeological puzzle to kick it all off, and some nice scenes of tomb raiding later on, but they're almost secondary to the personalities.
It's not going to make you forget the likes of Jurassic Park or State of Fear, but Easy Go is a fun romp that provides a glimpse into the man who would be Crichton.
Published July 3rd 2013 by Open Road Media (first published 1968)
Kindle, 208 pages