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Posted by on 26 May, 2024 in Bestseller, Thriller | 0 comments



Eruption by Michael Crichton and James Patterson (Century, 4 June 2024)

One of the biggest thriller releases of 2024 is destined to be Eruption, (Century, 4 June 2024), by two of the world’s best known authors, James Patterson and the late Michael Crichton.

Crichton, who died in 2008, was famous for his numerous bestselling novels, such as Jurassic Park and The Andromeda Strain, and their often subsequent movie adaptions, including Westworld. Apparently when he died he left extensive research notes and an unfinished manuscription for his ‘passion project’, a novel about a massive volcanic eruption in Hawaii. The manuscription lay idle for several years, until Crichton’s wife, Sherri, approached James Patterson. The result is Eruption, which has been completed by the James Patterson writing machine, but is very much a ‘Crichton’ story.

The book revolves around a history-making volcanic eruption that is about to effect the Big Island of Hawaii. As the team at the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory prepare for the volcanic blast and its consequences, they become aware of a decades old military secret about the dumping of nuclear waste, and some very dangerous biological material, in a lava tube on a military base on the island. If the volcanic eruption affects this poorly stored material the outcome could be devastating for Hawaii and the world.

This is a classic, fast moving disaster thriller with plenty of action and some easily digestible science. The book gets off to a good start with a scary prologue, before progressing to a dangerous rescue mission and the setting out of the various elements of the plot. The brisk pacing is typical of a Patterson novel, but there is more depth, and longer chapters, than you usually find in his recent books, The extensive research on volcanos, nuclear waste and other matters is smoothly woven into the story and you will happily leave the book knowing far more about volcanic eruptions than you probably wanted to.

The characters are typical of a Crichton novel, especially the down-to-earth John MacGregor, the head of the Hawaiian Volcanic Observatory and the book’s main character. MacGregor has all the characteristics we have come to expect from a Crichton lead, including bravery, technical brilliance, a self assuming personality and a touching unawareness of his attractiveness. Supporting him are a pair of good looking, highly professional and very smart women; some rugged military types; and a very calm President who bears no resemblance to Trump, thankfully. Opposing him are the usual Crichton villains, the media, a pair of celebrity volcanologists and an obnoxious billionaire.

The action towards the end is very dramatic, cinematic and bloody, and several major characters fall prey to the volcano. The final pages fly along and the overall result is a very enjoyable read that will truly satisfy fans of big disaster thrillers. The movie adaption is surely only a matter of time away.

Eruption will be released in Australia on 4 June 2024 and in the United States on 3 June 2024. Thanks to the publishers and the Canberra Daily for an advanced copy of the book for review.

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