cover image Eruption


Michael Crichton and James Patterson. Little, Brown, $34 (528p) ISBN 978-0-316-56507-3

Working from a partial manuscript discovered in Crichton’s archives, Patterson (the Alex Cross series) delivers a surprisingly seamless posthumous collaboration with the Jurassic Park author, who died in 2008. The action opens in 2016, when a class field trip to Hawaii’s Hilo Botanical Gardens is disrupted by the sudden appearance of deadly black stains on the park’s banyan trees. Nine years later, Hilo makes headlines again: Mauna Loa, an active volcano inside the park, is days away from an eruption that could unleash more lava than it has in a century. In addition to endangering nearby communities, the lava is likely to reach a cache of secret materials the U.S. military is storing on the Big Island, which could lead to the release of toxic waste—likely the same stuff that killed Hilo’s trees. The U.S. government assembles a team of experts to avert disaster, led by Mark Rivers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and geologist John MacGregor, who heads the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory. Together, they race against the clock to divert the lava flow in hopes of saving life on Earth. As in Crichton’s lesser works, character comes second to plot, but the plot is suitably breakneck and plausible. Crichton’s fans won’t be disappointed. (June)