Crichton's Prey was great - though I felt somewhat let down after finishing the book. The concepts, a cutting-edge-hi-tech amalgam of distributed computing, nanotech and genetic engineering (emergent self optimizing behaviour + triumphs of molecular manufacturing i.e. using e-coli bacteria to create nanoassemblers which inturn assemble molecular machines like cameras etc, which have memory, solar cell particles to sustain themselves and organize using goal-seeking PREDPREY distributed algorithms to mimick vivid shapes and forms, which as usual go out of control or do they. . . never mind; and have to be exterminated, else will take over the human race) are great, but the ending is not very inspiring and actually a bit disappointing.
Killing the villain bacteria instantly with bacteriophages/viruses ? The content handling at times is dry and clumsy.
Of course the story is fast paced and chilling too at times - he has focussed a lot on character development, which he was criticised of not doing in his earlier novels. The entire book is a first person narrative.
All in all a score of 3.5/5 would suffice.
His lucid style of writing though is prevalent here too, through which he seems to have developed a knack of scaring us ; readers will immediately vouch for the negative implications of molecular manufacturing . . .