Eruption: A Cinematic Disaster Thriller…But It’s a Novel

Michael Crichton started Eruption and James Patterson finished it to give readers the year’s most thrilling novel where a catastrophic volcanic eruption looms over the Big Island of Hawaii.

This was a passion project for the late Jurassic Park creator–so much that his widow, Sherri Crichton, delayed publishing the manuscript until she found the right author to finish the novel. There are plenty of fish in the sea but not many can finish this particular novel. I’m not sure where Crichton ends and Patterson begins. That’s how seemless that the novel flows from page to page. The late Crichton is no stranger to the disaster thriller genre. He co-wrote Twister, due out shortly in 4K UHD and getting a standalone sequel in July. What he and Patterson manage to do here is just magical. I cannot wait to see how it looks on the big screen–more on this in a moment.

It’s not often that I zip through over 400 pages of text in under 24 hours. It probably helps that there are over 100 chapters so it really reads at a quick pace. I could not put the book down! With rare exception of course. Put it this way: I delayed by attendance at Shavuot services so I could see how Eruption would end. What an ending!

Here’s what we know: a history-making eruption is due to take place on the big island of Hawaii. What the island’s residents and practically everyone else does not realize is that the U.S. military is carrying a big secret. If they do not rush into action when their past comes back to bite them in the tuchas, it’ll spell disaster for more than Hawaii. This is just how devastating that the impact will be. Much like the fact that you do not build a dinosaur theme park resort on an island near a volcano, the miliary should not store radioactive canisters at the base of a volcano. Mauna Loa, in particular. The Big Island of Hawaii’s other major volcano is Kīlauea. Mauna Kea is dormant, having not erupted in over 4,000 years.

Dr. John “Mac” MacGregor is 36-years-old and the big man in charge at the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (Maybe they’ll cast Glen Powell? He is the It Man right now!). Mac works alongside 32-year-old lead lab scientist Dr. Jenny Kimura. On the other end of the coin is Col. James Briggs, a trim and fit white-haired man in his 60s. There’s Lono Akani, a teen that just wants to help Mac and the HVO, not realizing what’s at stake. Oh yeah, this book is not without a mega-billionaire tech guy, J.P. Brett, wanting to play with their toys and be the hero! A few celebrity volcanologists get called in, too. Are they there to help or do they just want to capture footage? And then there’s Hilo’s chief of Civil Defense, Henry “Tako” Takayama.

It’s not until after he speaks at a press conference on April 24, 2025 that the military sends for Mac. He soon learns about the Ice Tube and what it would mean should lava make its way over there. Before you know it, they have to do a few things: protect the Ice Tube and the city of Hilo. Easier said than done and they have 116 hours and change to finish the job.

There’s some real tension here and not everyone will have a happy ending. I know, I know. We spend so many pages rooting for characters that we like only to see them lose their lives in the chaos of it all. There’s a reason why it’s a disaster thriller! I will not tell you who lives and who dies, just that some of those deaths are earned and some most definitely are not.

The film rights have already been optioned so I expect we’ll probably see a film hitting the big screen in the next few years. But will it be better than the cinematic imagery playing in my head? That’s the thing with books like these–they are so gripping that anything less than what we imagine just will not be the same. This is obviously the case with many books but there are expectations when it comes to the likes of Michael Crichton and James Patterson. To say that the pressure is on both Jimmy Chin and Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi is not an understatement. You have to wonder who they’ll cast as the George Clooney lookalike–Morton–heading the geophysical modeling team from the Army Ordance Corps.

Eruption is an epic must-read cinematic disaster thriller.

Eruption is available wherever books are sold.

Please subscribe to Solzy at the Movies on Buttondown.

Danielle Solzman

Danielle Solzman is native of Louisville, KY, and holds a BA in Public Relations from Northern Kentucky University and a MA in Media Communications from Webster University. She roots for her beloved Kentucky Wildcats, St. Louis Cardinals, Indianapolis Colts, and Boston Celtics. Living less than a mile away from Wrigley Field in Chicago, she is an active reader (sports/entertainment/history/biographies/select fiction) and involved with the Chicago improv scene. She also sees many movies and reviews them. She has previously written for Redbird Rants, Wildcat Blue Nation, and Hidden Remote/Flicksided. From April 2016 through May 2017, her film reviews can be found on Creators.

You Missed

Brittani Ward talks Single Car Crashes, Premiering in Chicago

Brittani Ward talks Single Car Crashes, Premiering in Chicago

Nicole Riegel talks Dandelion, Working with the Dessner Brothers

Nicole Riegel talks Dandelion, Working with the Dessner Brothers

Fly Me to the Moon Blasts Off Into Theaters

Fly Me to the Moon Blasts Off Into Theaters

Concerned Citizen: A Dark Israeli Comedy About Gentrification

Concerned Citizen: A Dark Israeli Comedy About Gentrification

Karaoke: An Israeli Comedy About Obsession

Karaoke: An Israeli Comedy About Obsession

Challengers Hits Match Point As It Arrives On Blu-ray and DVD

Challengers Hits Match Point As It Arrives On Blu-ray and DVD