"Micro" (Harper), by Michael Crichton and Richard Preston: "Micro" is a new, posthumous story from the late Michael Crichton, who died in 2008, and finished by Richard Preston, author of the non-fiction best-seller "The Hot Zone." It's a thriller about a biotech company in Hawaii and a group of students who end up stranded and endangered in a rain forest.
Nanigen MicroTechnologies is recruiting graduate students for its top-secret research. Peter Jansen receives an offer from the company. He's not surprised because his brother, Eric, works in management at Nanigen. Peter's colleagues are thrilled to be invited as well.
The day before Peter is scheduled to arrive, he receives a mysterious text message from Eric saying not to come. He goes to Hawaii anyway and learns that his brother has been murdered. A confrontation with the man responsible for Eric's death puts Peter and his friends in jeopardy. They are reduced in size to less than an inch tall.
Peter leads his friends through a terrifying new hostile landscape. Can they survive long enough to find a way to regain their size and stop a madman?
Like a typical Crichton novel, the cardboard-thin characters in "Micro" exist only to convey the science, yet somehow the novel works.
Rain forests are a new frontier for pharmaceutical possibilities, and the concept of shrinking man down to the size of a pea has been explored countless times. Yet reading the novel makes all of it seem fresh and original.
"Micro" ranks with Critchton's blockbusters "The Andromeda Strain" and "Jurassic Park," and Preston deserves praise for polishing the novel and making it sing.