In my opinion any new Jack Higgins release will be read by mainly 2 categories of readers, the new reader unused to his style or stories, and the avid reader. Obviously I fall into the second group which is why I find it so hard to rate this latest offering with anything more than 3 stars.
What is it about?
Following on from the previous book, Dillon and co are still trying to pit their wits against al-Qaeda, and the new mysterious ‘Master’. The novel opens with an attempt on former USA President Jake Cazalet’s life, of course the secret army are in the neighbourhood and disaster is averted. However, when Dillon does a little digging into the assassins identity, a few ghosts from his earlier career in the IRA resurface. Couple this with the added pressure being forced on the army from AQ and the Muslim Brotherhood and it seems highly unlikely any of the good guys will survive. This time it is personal and there will be nothing that can stop the blood flowing.
What did I like?
The story, when you get down to the basics is typical Higgins. Plenty of gunfire and killings, action every few pages accompanied by a plot that speeds along without getting bogged down in too much detail. The storyline is modern and up to date with current world issues that frequent the news on a daily basis, whilst still being able to relate to past troubles such as the IRA troubles. Higgins has always managed to create colourful characters that are easily to visualise and they are in abundance here. The book at just over 300 pages was an easy read and the pages really did fly by.
What didn’t I like?
As mentioned this is the 21st outing by Dillon and co, and anyone who has followed the series may have a problem. There just isn’t anything that hasn’t been written before. I have noticed in the last few releases that the storylines were getting more and more predictable but this has to be the worst yet. The characters are just acting totally unbelievable for the situation they find themselves, the speech is formulaic, sparse and at times just boring. The prefix ‘said’ is used on nearly every dialogue, and the only real substitute is the word ‘demanded’ – often when there isn’t really any need for it.
Unusually for Higgins this novel really does have far too many characters that seem to dip in and out so often that it gets confusing. Bearing in mind that the majority of characters are supposedly hardline extremists, they change to the opposing side on a whim. The details of the plot are just not feasible at times and everything just seems, well, wooden.