"Congo" by Michael Crichton
If you've only ever seen the movie (in all of it's pure 90's awesomeness), then you haven't treated yourself to the greatness that is Michael Crichton's novel Congo. I fell in love with Crichton's writing about eight years ago upon reading Jurassic Park. Like the movie, Congo follows Peter Elliot and his sign-language speaking gorilla, Amy, as they search for an ancient lost city called Zinj. That's about as much as the book and movie have in common. Action and science meet in this techno-thriller, as the author takes leads us blindly into the deepest rainforests of Africa. Strong characters and a balance between action and explanation leave the reader scrambling back for more. Dark nightmares come to life as the main team of characters are faced with gruesome and territorial gray gorillas left over from a time forgotten.
Congo is a great and relatively quick read. I found myself (both times I read it) wrapped up in the story so that I could hardly put it down. Really, I spent a few days of a holiday break engrossed in it. It is by far one of my most favorite novels and a true testament to Crichton's skill as an author and storyteller.