(Writing as Jeffery Hudson)
1968, Published by Signet Books 1969
I've always enjoyed Michael Crichton's work, but this early book of his (written when he was 26) is so gripping and well-written that it's one of the best books I've read. I would describe this book as a medical thriller. It's a fascinating book, because as usual, Crichton always explains science in such an interesting manner in his novels (like genetics, evolution, in Jurassic Park and The Lost World, physics in Timeline), and this book is no different except for the fact that it's medical science here.
The story starts with a doctor John Berry being informed that his good friend, an obstetrician, Arthur Lee, has been arrested for murder. Lee had been performing illegal abortions for quite some time, and that forms the basis for his arrest - the police claim that he performed an abortion on a girl named Karen Randall (a horribly botched surgery, as the cover puts it), which caused profuse bleeding and eventually led to her death. Art Lee claims that he's innocent, and Berry intends to prove this. But many complications arise, firstly, Karen's family consists of some very well-known doctors, who seem to have their own secrets. Also, there is a substantial amount of evidence - and many loose ends in the case - which implicates Art. Berry decides to help his friend by solving the case. A Case of Need, thus is like a detective story, with many twists in the plot. A really, really good book - I found it hard to put it down!