Michael Crichton, author of "The Andromeda Strain" and "Jurassic Park," died of cancer last year, but there's a new novel out with his name on it. "Pirate Latitudes" was apparently found in his files as a completed manuscript. Indeed, it doesn't read like something patched together from notes, drafts and narrative stitching provided by some after-the-fact collaborator. It's creepiness factor is therefore pretty low.
It actually feels like a throw-back to some of Crichton's early work, either the potboilers penned under the John Lange byline or the historical novels published under his own name, including "The Great Train Robbery" and "Eaters of the Dead." It's a pirate novel, all right, but not an ironic pirate novel. There's no outrightly fantastic element in it, as in Gene Wolfe's recent "Pirate Freedom." What you expect is pretty much what you get.
"Pirate Latitudes" is entertaining, though, and that opinion is reflected in my review of the novel in this week's Sunday Chronicle. And, as a bonus, here's a link to the appreciation of Crichton I wrote for The Chronicle at the time of death.