Review: Easy Go / Author: Michael Crichton (writing as John Lange) / Publisher: Hard Case Crime / Release Date: Out Now
One of Crichton’s earlier books, when he was still publishing under pseudonyms, Easy Go might as well be the very definition of pulp fiction. It’s fast, over the top, cheesy and feels cheap, yet for all its B-movie flaws you keep turning pages. It’s straightforward and to the point, with little floundering or meandering about the plot, offering the reader fast pacing to match the action.
A heist story set in Egypt, the book follows a five-man group of smugglers searching for the lost tomb of a Pharaoh. Even if they do find it though, they'll be lucky to escape with their lives...
Split into three separate parts, the book’s structure and narrative format is definitely one of its two greatest strengths, keeping up a rapid pace, while at the same time maintaining just enough detail to make the reader understand what is going on. There are no truly grandiose descriptions but it remains serviceable and makes the book accessible.
Easy Go’s second major boon is that, despite its pulpy style, it has strong characterisations. While far from being deeply written or complex figures, the heroes and villains are solidly conceived. True, many times they feel more like extensions of the plot than true individuals, but the book was never intended to be a character piece and is driven more by the planned heist than by dramatic interaction.
Unfortunately the characterisation doesn’t carry over to the dialogue itself. There are rarely moments where Pierce, Barnaby, Varese or Nikos say something truly memorable or witty. As with many elements of the book, what they say is serviceable and keeps the plot going forwards and that's about it. It’s one of several places where the book shows the author’s inexperience at this time.
As a whole Easy Go is one of those titles you pick up, read, and then forget. It’s definitely a one shot story that will hold your attention until the last page, but there’s no benefit from reading it again. It’s average, but ultimately the good kind of average.