As an author of science fiction, action, and thriller novels, the works of Micheal Crichton are perhaps better known for their film adaptations. That includes Jurassic Park, The Andromeda Strain, and Westworld which has also become a hit TV show.
Though his books have become bestsellers, Crichton himself made the leap toward film and TV. While he became involved in screenwriting for television, he also directed several movies.
Jurassic Park eventually became a huge film franchise yet explores how technology can be played with and result in spectacular catastrophe. Crichton liked to explore how humans could interact with technology and almost bring themselves down because of it.
Not just Jurassic Park but Westworld too which looks at artificial intelligence and how it can overrun humans. Not only did Crichton write the book, but he also directed the 1973 film which was the first to use 2D computer-generated imagery.
Jurassic Park also won the 1994 Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation and the Academy Award for Best Technical Achievement.
It was not until 1969 that Crichton found his niche, this was when he wrote The Andromeda Strain which helped establish him as a bestselling author. The book itself looked at an extra-terrestrial microorganism that could kill within minutes.
Though terrifying, the book created an imaginary world yet still used real people and medical techniques that readers could recognize.
Crichton was also the creator of the TV series, ER, which should not be a huge surprise considering his background in science and, especially, medical training.
If you enjoy the writing of Michael Crichton, specifically his thrilling sense of realism, you should love adding authors like Tom Clancy, Robert Ludlum, Michael Connelly, Ken Follett, and John Grisham.
Authors Like Michael Crichton
Throughout Michael Crichton’s books, there’s a terrific sense of realism and drama.
Should you want a book that you find difficult to put down with seemingly tangible stakes then read books by Tom Clancy, Robert Ludlum, Michael Connelly, Ken Follett, and John Grisham.
Tom Clancy was an insurance broker in Maryland when his novel, The Hunt For Red October, was published and for someone with a huge interest in naval history, that was a big deal.
Like Crichton, Clancy also liked to imbue his novels with a sense of authenticity and realism with some terrific plotting. Also like Crichton, Clancy had several of his novels adapted for the film including The Hunt For Red October, Clear and Present Danger, Patriot Games, and The Sum of All Fears.
- Straight To The Point – Clancy can be seen as an incredibly literal writer who liked to make sure that the reader knew exactly what he meant.
- Serious Tone – Clancy served in the Cold War and you get a real sense of the serious nature of war and terrorism.
- Long Jack Ryan Series – Clancy went above and beyond to create a Jack Ryan Universe and there are several books that you could count which are involved. That does mean that the character has been portrayed on screen by several actors through the years and that can get a little confusing.
Themes: War, terrorism, military science, geopolitics
Ludlum has 210 million books in print which is a staggering amount.
He became the author of 27 thrilling novels though he was most well-known for creating the character, Jason Bourne, and The Bourne Trilogy series which were adapted for the big screen starring Matt Damon.
- Globally-Known – As the author of The Bourne Identity and having his books translated into 32 languages, Ludlum’s works are globally known and easy to find.
- Critically Successful Films – Through The Bourne Identity series, Ludlum demonstrated how one determined man can bring down an entire organization on his own in a trilogy of critically successful films.
- Deviation From Source Material – Though Ludlum’s Bourne Identity books and their film adaptations have proved commercially successful, the storylines have deviated from their literary source material.
Themes: Spy fiction, mystery, conspiracy theories
If you enjoy crime fiction as your version of a thrilling novel then you should enjoy the books of Michael Connelly.
Like Ludlum and Clancy, Connelly went back to certain characters for a series of books; the detective, Harry Bosch and Mickey Haller who is a criminal defense attorney.
Connelly is another author who may be more well-known for those of his books that have been adapted for the big screen including The Lincoln Lawyer starring Matthew McConaughey.
The author has also won pretty much every single major award that can be won by writers who delve into mystery including the Anthony Award, the Edgar Award, the Macavity Awards, the Grand Prix de Littérature Policière and the RBA Prize for Crime Writing.
- Real Events – A lot of the depiction of thriller novels looks to be inspired by the real-world yet Connelly throws in real-world events. That includes 9/11 and the Los Angeles riots in 1992.
- Change of Perspective – Connelly likes to change the perspective of his characters throughout his novels to look at the story differently.
- Same Fictional universe – Just as Clancy created the Jack Ryan Universe, Connelly likes to keep his characters in the same world as Harry Bosch which can get tiring.
Themes: Crime fiction, thriller, mystery
For thrillers that have a certain element of history in their plots, look to Ken Follett. Several of his books have hit the top spot on the New York Times Best Sellers list and Follett has enjoyed a slow-burning success.
He became an international bestselling author with Eye of the Needle which became a worldwide phenomenon as a historical thriller.
- Historical Settings – Follett likes to place his characters in historical settings which brings a sense of realism and a real sense of the dramatic to his books.
- Detail – Follett is a master at creating an intricate plot and many of them are so tight that a lot of readers make sure that they are fully invested in order not to miss crucial details.
- Range of Political Backgrounds – Follett’s novels tend to flip between various political backgrounds such as the Cold War, the US Civil Rights Movements, and the British Labor Movement which can get confusing.
Themes: Espionage, historical fiction
Rather than simply writing about the legal and political arenas, John Grisham has gone further than most authors. He is a former member of the Mississippi House of Representatives but is more well known for his thrilling novels.
Grisham also shares a distinction with Clancy as an author to have sold two million copies of a first printing for The Pelican Brief.
The book was also adapted to a film starring Julia Roberts, Stanley Tucci, and Denzel Washington and was based on a legal brief for why an assassin would kill two justices of the Supreme Court.
- Fighting The Tough Fight – As a board director on the Innocent Project as well as the Centurion Ministries, Grisham is passionate about exonerating those individuals who have been wrongfully convicted. That comes through in his writing as he explores issues in the criminal justice system.
- Realism – Grisham was admitted to the Mississippi bar and was so inspired by a particular trial that he wrote his first novel A Time to Kill.
- Implausible Plots – Grisham has faced criticism for just how implausible his book rplots are yet counters that by stating that it is not serious literature.
Themes: Legal fiction, realism, criminal justice
Michael Crichton’s books sold over 200m copies worldwide which sounds impressive enough from just 28 novels. He also reached a huge audience by the dozen of his books which were adapted for the big screen.
The most well-known Crichton book to be adapted for film is undoubtedly Jurassic Park and that piece of work does provide a good overview of Crichton’s main themes.
Through his thrilling books, Michael Crichton has looked at how science and medicine can apply in the real world.
While the subject matter may change to criminal justice, espionage, and crime, several authors have a similar sense of the real world in their books. For thrilling realism, look towards John Grisham, Ken Follett, Michael Connelly, Robert Ludlum, and Tom Clancy.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Are The Names Of The Spin-Off Jurassic Park Books?
What Can Be Considered The Deeper Meaning Of The Jurassic Park Book?
A lot of Crichton’s writing takes on the theme of man against nature and typically involves technology.
Jurassic Park explores those themes and suggests that both man and nature will remain in conflict yet nature tends to win.