CRICHTON likes to scare the tripes out of us.
He's succeeded admirably with Jurassic Park, Next and a plethora of other scary stories based on nasty things happening because scientists get trigger-happy.
This time they're genetically engineering humans, thinking "Hmm, wonder what would happen if we threw a few human genes into a parrot… or a chimp…"
Crichton's fans know what will happen. Evil corporations will use their innocent discoveries to wreak havoc.
So it is that we soon have life insurance cancelled when someone's reported as having a gene for heart disease.
Oh no. It's not the man with heart disease whose insurance is cancelled - it's his son, who's now defined as 'pre-ill', and therefore uninsurable, because he shares the gene.
And the family of a man whose cells have the ability to cure cancer have to go on the run - because the evil corporation's supply of the cells has been stolen, and they want to (forcibly) take more from his kids and grandkids.
This is a book to gobble up for distraction, while noting the science stuff in your paranoia jotter. But it's not one of Crichton's best. It lacks a strong central character you can identify with - too many, too similar, too anodyne American characters.
But a great book for distraction, all the same.