Death Swarmed Over

Crichton's latest is a soulless, by-the-numbers techno-thriller. And you won't be able to put it down

Just how does Michael Crichton do it? His new novel, Prey (HarperCollins; 367 pages), lacks almost everything a good novel needs. It contains not one single quotable line of dialogue ("We have to help him!" "There's nothing we can do." That should give you a sense of it). It offers not one single well-realized character. It's riddled with plot holes you could drive a reconstituted brontosaurus through. And yet...and yet ...it does something few novels can manage: it holds your attention ruthlessly from start to finish.

With Prey Crichton goes from dino to nano: the baddie comes from the currently hot...

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