Audiobook Review: Michael Crichton and James Patterson (2024)

I received a review copy from the publisher. This does not affect the contents of my review and all opinions are my own.

Eruption by Michael Crichton and James Patterson

Mogsy’s Rating: 3 of 5 stars

Genre:Thriller

Series:Stand Alone

Publisher:Hachette Audio (June 3, 2024)

Length: 10 hours 31 minutes

Narrator:Scott Brick

What can I say but Eruptionis exactly what you would expect from an unfinished manuscript resurrected from the depths of the late Michael Crichton’s hard drive. Don’t expect the same caliber as his blockbuster novels like Jurassic Park, Sphere, or Timeline (my personal favorite), despite—or perhaps even because of—James Patterson’s collaborative efforts. The science was patchy, plot was a bit slapdash, and pacing was hit-or-miss. That said, I enjoyed it for the popcorn entertainment it provided.

In typical fashion, this thriller starts off with a mystery that leaves the team at the Hilo Botanical Gardens in Hawaii completely bewildered. The garden’s precious banyan trees have inexplicably withered to black seemingly overnight, and the whole place is shut down by the authorities without warning, leaving park biologist Rachel with no answers. Fast-forward about a decade to Mauna Loa, where scientists have set up nearby to study the volcano’s activity. Led by John “Mac” MacGregor, the team has growing concerns about recent ground tremors as well as the steam rising from the caldera. It appears Mauna Loa may be on the verge of eruption, and when it inevitably happens, the impact will be violent and devastating.

But as Mac prepares for worst case scenario, another threat reveals itself. As if the potential disaster caused by the impending eruption of Mauna Loa isn’t bad enough, for decades the military has been storing huge amounts of a radioactive defoliating agent in the underground tunnels of Hawaii. When the colossal volcano blows, the lava flow into these holes would damage the containers holding this poison, releasing it into the world where it would kill all the plants on earth the same way it did those banyan trees in the opening sequence.

So, there you have it. Eruption reads like a natural disaster movie, sort of like Dante’s Peak but set in Hawaii, with an added conspiracy element to raise the stakes. There are some highs, and there are also certainly some lows. There’s the fact that this project has both Crichton and Patterson attached to it, but there’s really no telling where one author’s contribution begins and ends. If I had to hazard a guess though, Crichton is probably responsible for the bulk of the research into volcanoes and geology, while Patterson filled in most of the story and characters. That the distinction is noticeable enough tells you all you need to know about the book’s pacing and flow.

Still, to its credit, the plot was never boring. For better or worse, Eruption was written like it was meant for the big screen. With all the crackling tensions and action galore, you can practically see the CGI and feel the vibrations of digital surround sound rattling around in your mind. This book truly reads like a cinematic experience—and I mean that in a good way. However, on a more negative note, this also comes with some real cringers in the dialogue. No one actually speaks like this outside of a movie script, and likewise many of the characters are the kind of cookie cutter archetypes you meet in action flicks—two dimensional and predictable.

Yet despite these flaws, Eruption manages to stay fun and entertaining. That’s because impossible science, plot, and characters aside, I can deal with a few elements that strain credibility as long as I’m having a good time. Bottom line, even with the names of these two powerhouses on the cover, I can’t objectively call this a great book. But do I think it would make a great movie? Yes.

Audiobook Review: Michael Crichton and James Patterson (2)

Audiobook Review: Michael Crichton and James Patterson (3)

Category: 3 stars, Audiobooks, Mystery/Suspense/Thriller Tags: Eruption, Hachette Audio, James Patterson, Michael Crichton

10 Comments on “Audiobook Review: Michael Crichton and JamesPatterson”

  1. I quit crichton at his “state of fear”. I can only imagine what one of his unfinished later novels would be like.

    It does make me wonder if somebody will start a franchise “Michael Crichton’s X” series, much like the Jack Ryan Junior series (insert massive eye roll at THAT pile of poo). I know the movies have run amok with his Jurassic Park idea, but I am surprised no one has tried to turn it into a ghost written adventure series. I should probably be thankful they haven’t 😀

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  2. I’ve never been a fan of Patterson, nor Crichton’s unreleased stuff. Still, I’m glad you liked it! You know, at least a bit;)

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  3. While I understand the need to bring to life the unfinished work of a dead author, no one – not matter how skilled – can bring the same level of reader’s engagement as the original writer. Still, the “popocorn entertainment value” of the story cannot be ignored… 😉

    Thanks for sharing!

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  4. I do enjoy a good cinematic thriller. I kind of wish they’d stop resurrecting half finished manuscripts from dead authors…. 😓 it just comes off as a money grab.

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  5. Great review. I loved Timeline and a couple of other Crichton novels but I think that I might wait for the film !!!

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  6. This is my first time hearing about this, lol. I’m always wary of the “block buster author completes a dead author’s unfinished manuscript” (although I am reading the new Daniel Kraus/George Romero this year!). At least it was fun😁

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  7. I think I would rather watch the movie

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  8. As I haven’t read anything by Crichton yet I definitely think I’d be better off checking out some of his older work 😅 I’m glad you found this fun though. Although cringey dialogue is so frustrating.

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  9. With books like this I always wonder how different it would have turned out had the original author been able to finish it. Any better? Worse? Just different? Pretty much the same? I’ve not read much by Crichton, just Jurassic Park and The Andromeda Strain, and I don’t think I’ve read anything by Patterson, but you have convinced me if I read anything else by either author to find something other than this. 🙂

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  10. Oh dear, cookie cutter archetypes and stilted dialogue. No thanks.

    Lynn 😀

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Audiobook Review: Michael Crichton and James Patterson (2024)
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