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Biography: Michael Crichton
Michael Crichton was born in Chicago, Illinois on October 23, 1942. His siblings consisted of two sisters, Kimberly and Catherine, and one brother, Douglas. While growing up in Roslyn, New York, he was influenced by his dad’s will for him to type and write. The Internet Movie Database states that “…his father was a journalist and encouraged him to type and write.” (IMDb.com, Inc.). Considering he was a journalist himself, he wanted his son to follow in his footsteps. Crichton attended Harvard University where he first started studying English. He later quit the English program because of frustration with the teachers and pursued a career in medicine. He graduated and performed post-doctoral studies, but never became a licensed practitioner of medicine. While in medical school, Crichton wrote many books such as A Case of Need and Scratch One under the pseudonym John Lange. Later on in his career, he reverted back to his initial pursuit, or that of his father’s, and became a full time author, writing several award winning books that have been translated into over 30 languages.
Some of the books written by Michael Crichton are as follows:
A Case of Need (1968)
The Andromeda Strain (1969)
The Terminal Man (1972)
The Great Train Robbery (1975)
Jurassic Park (1990)
Rising Sun (1992)
The Lost World (1995)
State of Fear (2004)
In these books, Crichton uses a style of suspense that makes you not want to put the book down. He is known as the “father of the Techno-Thriller”. The action in every page is so exciting it gets your heart pumping faster. Also, he tends to throws a lot of loose ends out, but it’s not until the end do they actually tie together.
Plot Summary: Rising Sun
As the book begins, you are placed in a small apartment in Culver City, California. Lieutenant Peter Smith is at home with his two year old daughter, Michelle, watching the Lakers’ game. As a new Special Services liaison officer for the Japanese, he is studying the indifferent language, trying to make it his own. Unsuspectingly, he receives a phone call to report to the newly built Nakamoto building, a Japanese company, in downtown Los Angeles for a reported murder. He is joined by Captain John Connor, a retired liaison officer who is fairly accustomed to the Japanese culture, seeing as he lived there for a few years earlier in his life.
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Throughout the plot, Crichton successfully lays out continuing action packed scenarios, creating twists and turns that leave you wanting more.
Character Analysis: Lieutenant Peter Smith
In this novel, Peter Smith is the main character. He is an impatient person that handles stress very well, which is needed in his career choice. He began his career in the police force as a detective and was so for quite some time. Then, he fell in love with a girl, Lauren, and they had the intent of getting married. After finding out that she is pregnant, they hurry up the marriage process and tie the knot almost immediately. In order to balance the love of his life and the newly acquired family member, he is forced to switch jobs. He is offered the position of the Japanese Special Service liaison officer because of the recent retirement of former officer Captain John Connor. The job was very convenient for Smith at the time, considering it consisted of less, more normal, hours, and higher pay. This way he could juggle his job, his wife, and his newborn baby. But, after the baby is born, Lauren can’t handle the commitment and leaves Peter by himself with the baby. He constantly calls on his neighbors for help in watching his daughter while he goes out and works. After the Nakamoto case though, he leaves the Special Services though, now free to raise his daughter as he pleases.
Captain John Connor is also an important character in this novel. He is perceived as the Japanese wanna-be. He is unusually knowledgeable of their culture and in fact lived there for a little bit. He returned for the mere fact that they were to racist over there for him to tolerate. The novel states “… ‘I was tired of being treated like a nigger. I couldn’t stand getting the looks and rude remarks I received. When walking down the street, people would immediately move to the other side in order to avoid me. I couldn’t take it anymore so I left’ Connor stated solemnly.” (275). He is single and is never referred to as having any family. He is an extraordinary detective and shows that in the novel.
Also, Tom Graham was an important character in this novel. He is a little overweight and extremely impatient and rude. He can’t stand the Japanese and believe they are taking over the United States. Also, he was never the best at anything he did. He was always short of expectations. The novel states “When Graham played halfback at U.S.C. he never made first string. That bit of history stuck like a character trait…” (17).
In my opinion this book was very “reader friendly”. It was not hard to understand while at the same time it had so many twists and turns you had no clue what was going to happen next. I very much so enjoyed this book and would definitely recommend it to others. This is because of the mere fact that it kept you going. There was never a dull moment in this book and you never want to put it down. You find yourself yearning for more even after the book is finished.
I believe that the teenage age group or adults who are very into business competition and technology would thoroughly enjoy this book. All of the action contained in a book will diminish the fact that it is not the shortest book in the world. It can be guaranteed that you will be so caught up in the events taking place you will not even realize the number of pages in the book.
The only minor problem I had with this book is that it referred to Japanese society and way of life to many times. It was crucial information in understanding some of the events in the novel, but it was unnecessary to repeat it over and over again. Other than that the book was superb and an excellent choice for a good read.