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Summary: If you like Higgins, it's a nice read
Review: Jack Higgins has a long list of great novels behind him. His last few however, while competent, have lacked the genius of the earlier Higgins.
For a regular Higgins reader, which I am, the characters of Sean Dillon, Ferguson and the others are familiar: increasingly so. The plot flows smoothly, but again all too similar to earlier novels with the same characters.
All that said and done, for a Higgins fan, "Dark Justice" is still an entertaining read, but nothing more.
Summary: Sean Dillon Again!
Review: The story begins with an assassination attempt on the American
President Jake Cazalet.The attempt is foiled and the people who
are involved are handed over to General and his group composed of Sean Dillon.Hannah Bernstein and Billy Salter.They discover a
plan to get British Muslims to train in Middle East terrorist camps that are financed by Russian oil billionaire Josef Belov.
Belov has some plan to seize the oil fields of Iraq.Belov is
supported by Greta Novikova and Yuri Ashimov both former GRU
officers.The two forces have a few battles before having a final
confrontation.This was a very readable book but not near as
action packed as the two books about the Rashid family.
Summary: Fire the Ghostwriter!
Review: All of these customer reviews are right on point. Let me say that I'm a huge Higgins fan, especially "Solo" and of course the Ferguson/Dillon volumes. I have all of his books displayed on my bookshelf back home, and whenever I'm home for the holidays i always take out Thunder Point and reread the first act - it's brilliant.
Which is why I'm so disappointed with Dark Justice! I read it in two days and have spent just as long trying to decide if the book even had a plot. Without giving anything away to those unfortunate enough waste their money on this book, there's a teaser on the jacket cover that doesn't materialize - and with the "climax" being so short and underdeveloped i'm pretty sure i didn't miss anything. the only person who "fell" was Mr. Higgins off my pedestal.
Shame on the esteemed author. He has a devoted legion of fans, myself included, and he's now mailing it in something terrible. I've seen cheesecakes with recipes that were more interesting - the First Act Dillon barfight, the revenge-motivating Second Act injury to a key character, and the Third Act convincing of Harry Salter that Billy can go on one more mission with Dillon - one can only hope that Higgins will run out of cliched castles in which to stage his "climaxes," but i'm starting to get the sense that we've seen it all before.
Needless to say, i returned the book to Borders - it has no place on my bookshelf! firstname.lastname@example.org
Summary: Brief Action Moments Separated by Lots of Posturing
Review: If you read either Bad Company or Midnight Runner, this book will seem familiar to you. A new man, Josef Belov, has stepped into the Rashid holdings after Baron von Berger died in a plane crash, and provides a new source of villainy aimed at the Middle East oil fields. The money and the background this time are Russian, and you will feel at times as though you are back in the Cold War as well as up against the IRA.
As the book opens, a terrorist assassin named Henry Morgan stalks the U.S. president. The trail the assassin leaves behind leads to a mosque in London and suggests a wider terror network aimed at destabilizing Iraq.
While consulting with the president, General Charles Ferguson leads a counter attack to locate the terrorist organization and to stop it. As usual, Ferguson relies heavily on Sean Dillon, Major Roper, Hannah Bernstein and Dillon's allies, the Salters.
The opposition draws heavily on experienced Russian intelligence personnel who are now freelancing, as well as other freelance operatives.
Soon Ferguson and the opposition are well aware of one another and are racing to gain strategic advantages. Along the way, there are lots of threats, bragging and by-play. Every 40 pages or so, there's a brief violent confrontation. This conflict is enhanced by Belov's antipathy towards Ferguson and his team.
The backdrop of the story is more interesting than many of Mr. Higgins's thrillers. There are cameo appearances by world leaders and lots of references to the antiterrorist methods now being used in the U.K. The book gently raises the question about whether the antiterrorist forces should have unrestrained authority or not . . . and seems to suggest that they should.
As usual, character development is minimal and ideas are few and far between. But if you like having gun battles every so often in your stories, this book will do just as well as any other gun-filled thriller.
As for writing style, some will find this book a little too spare in its descriptions. An entire gun fight can be concluded in a handful of paragraphs.
May you live with love and in peace.
Summary: Not quite the same
Review: Love all the main characters. Have now read 24 or all his books. Like others I feel something is missing. Maybe all have been written that there is. Don't know but if there can be no more it has been a good run and worth reading some again. I wouldn't try to continue when I am done, if I am. Sugar Ray Leonard would attest to that. I hope there can be more but only as good as the earlier novels were.
Summary: Sean Dillon at it again
Review: Reading this series of books about Sean Dillon & Co. is a "guilty pleasure" like eating too much candy. You know you're going to enjoy it, but the taste quickly leaves you after the candy (or the book) is finished. This is "light reading", of course, and should be considered nothing else. You go into the book knowing that Dillon and his friends are going to win out in the end, even if occasionally one of them ends up injured. The bad guys are typically evil, and the kind of folks you root for to come to a bad end. It's not great literature, but a welcome break from heavier, nore meaningful works. So enjoy the ride with Sean; you won't regret it!
Summary: 3 1/2 stars
Review: See book summary above.
The novel is fast to read as well as action packed. The brevity of the narration and the 'clipped action'(PW's words) seems to be a more and more common writing style for this author. I don't like it. I'd say it's aimed more towards a younger reader than serious thriller readers.
Summary: Is this the end of an era?
Review: The last two Jack Higgins novels, Dark Justice and Bad Company read as though Jack Higgins has hired someone to write Jack Higgins. I would guess, from the dialouge, that someone is an American. Long time followers of General Charles Ferguson, Sean Dillon, Billy Salter,and Hannah Bernstein find their forms in these novels but not their substance. Literary characters are created over time with personalties, idiosyncracies, speech patterns, and atttitudes. Readers come to know them and know what to expect from them. In recent books, General Ferguson has become less dignified; Harry and Billy Salter have moved from being genial fringe outlaws involved in petty crime to waterfront thugs; Hannah Bernstein now finds herself in a career crisis in which she is seeking a moral compass; and the actor, which gave a lightness to his personaility and his language, is gone from Sean Dillon. The dialouge among and between these characters has become contrived and long time readers will say "Ferguson would not say that" or "If Dillon would say that, he would not say it in that way." The tightly drawn characters of Thunder Point and Angel of Death have been reduced to a formula for cranking out a book a year. When a writer has not more to say, he (or she) should say no more.
Dark Justice is not tightly written. Its characters are crass
caricatures of villains whose very language is stilted and predictable. Dillon and Billy Salter mount their usual end of book carnage in just eight pages.
Summary: (2 1/2) A Better Movie Script than a Novel
Review: This is a story with great potential which unfortunately was published while the story was barely developed past the stage of a good outline. Perhaps the author is tired of the series but doesn't want to forgo the lucrative financial rewards still possible from a series that has a legion of devoted readers. Maybe the publisher had too tight a deadline or the editor was asleep. Or more likely, the goal was an action filled adventure that had the potential to be optioned as another formulaic thriller destined for the enjoyment of theater audiences or made into a TV movie.
In any event, after a breathtaking start involving the attempted assassination of the President of the United States, the novel utilizes a totally straightforward plot more in the manner of an investigative procedural (involving the highest level British government intelligence operatives) than a story of clandestine intrigue. More disappointingly, because the story is told in the third person and alternates between the thoughts and actions of the government operatives and their opponents (a powerful Russian oilman and the shadowy network which he controls), almost all the action is foreshadowed and the only tension involves who will survive and the price which they will pay.
Long time readers of Higgins' books will recognize the operatives at the center of this story - General Charles Ferguson, the head of the British Prime Minister's "private Army" and his associates, Major Roper, Superintendent Hannah Bernstein, and most importantly former top IRA operative Sean Dillon. Their primary opponents are Josef Belov, a former KGB agent and now a multibilionaire assisted by his top lieutenant Yuri Ashimov and his recruit GRU operative Greta Novikova. The usual game of chess ensues as British intelligence tries to crack the organization which Belov has assembled while Ashimov attempts to minimize the damage to his game plan caused by the discovery of the presidential assassination plot.
There is little character development, and much of the dialog is of a quite summary nature and somewhat unrealistic. The topic of Muslim fanaticism is touched upon but simply as a plot device, and Hannah's concern about the use of extralegal methods to combat terrorism are only cursorily referenced. The topic of the significantly different nature of a war conducted by terrorists rather the traditional nation-state conflicts of the past (including the cold war) and the necessity for new rules of the game is continually asserted by Ferguson and Dillon, but a philosophical examination of the issue is never pursued. Thus, I was frequently frustrated as the tantalizing threads of a morally complex story were continually shortcirciuted by abrupt yet only cursorily described bursts of action. Finally, Greta's act of incredible ambivalence at a crucial point in the story was left unresolved by the conclusion.
While there is sufficient backstory inluded for new readers to understand the context of this novel, there are many better Jack Higgins books to read. DARK JUSTICE will only appeal to his most devoted readers. The face off between Sean and his old IRA comrades is only a few pages long, and the implied political implications of the involvement of Russian operatives are never developed. To paraphrase Sean's answer to Billy Salter (who plays a crucial role in this story), if you believe that this is "the best of all possible " books by Jack Higgins, then "you'll believe anything". So, we are left with a story that can be summarized in Sean's words near the end of the book - "I'm tired. I've been at war with the world for years and it's a darker world than when I started." This is a story about that dark world and the rough DARK JUSTICE which perhaps is the best that can be achieved. Unfortunately it only superficially examines the impact on the souls of those involved, and concentrates instead on the determination of who will die and who will survive and the price that they must pay. A lot of sound and fury, but it is not clear what it signifies.
Summary: Fast, Fast Read
Review: Whenever I want an exciting, fast read I turn to Jack Higgins. All the old crew is here, especially Dillon. I like this a lot, but I get the feeling all the main characters are getting a little long in the tooth! They sound as if "nothing gets better, no matter how much we try". This book dealt with the dark side of Islam and was much too real for me.
Yes, it was exciting and if only the bad guys were stopped as quickly and efficiently as Sean Dillon made it feel. He is one superdude. Ususally authors take hundered of pages to conclude a book. Higgins took 23 pages!
But I love the guy anyway. I couldnt put the book down and managed to suspend today's reality for a short time.
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