I grew up on the novels of Michael Crichton. I remember discovering Jurassic Park in middle school and immediately being lost in a world that was both amazing, yet terrifying. Once I finished that novel, I immediately began to consume his other works, to the point where I read most of his catalog. There was just something about his storytelling that I found compelling. This notion that even though I know this is fantasy, it actually could happen. Other authors attempt to do what Crichton has done, but no one has matched him. It is my firm belief that Dan Brown wishes he was Michael Crichton.
As I grew older, I moved away from the genre of fiction - focusing instead on what some may describe as "classic literature." It sounds a little snooty, but I don't make up the labels in the used bookstore. After Disclosure (1994), I pretty much stopped reading his work, save for a quick return to read Timeline a few years ago. Mostly, that was due to watching that terrible movie and needing to cleanse myself of it.
Crichton's death in late 2008 took a part of my childhood with it, so when I saw his posthumously published novel, Pirate Latitudes, I had to buy it. I'm not going to bore anyone with a synopsis of the book, that's what bn.com, amazon or wikipedia is for. I just wanted to capture that moment of youth, the feeling that his books gave me. Remembering how I would stay up late reading his books, until I could no longer fight the weight of my eyelids, and then waking up the next morning and picking up exactly where I left off. It was nice to return to that, to find that feeling again and relive a part of my childhood.
Thank you, Michael Crichton.