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3.8 out of 5 stars59
3.8 out of 5 stars
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on 24 July 2010
I am in my late forties and have read Higgins books since my teens. I have long found them cheesey but tolerable and enjoyable, a little escapism. I remember when Dillon came on the scene, although he was Liam Devlin re-incarnated I liked him and the tales and have read each new adventure as they've come out. They have got continually worse and this one is, in my humble opinion, the very worst to date. I really don't think I can stomach Wolf at the Door which is sitting in my basket of books to read.

JH is 80 and it really shows, as others have said the characters are so two-dimensional it's appalling. The writing is very poor, rushed and non-descriptive. The obsession with out dated weapons shows a lack of investment in research or, a couldn't care less and past it approach. There are numerous glaring errors that should have been picked up by proof readers and the formula has hit new ridiculous lows.

It saddens me to give this one star but I wish there was a zero option.

The most hypocritical thing of the lot is I am intrigued by the advert for 'The Judas Gate' Dillon 18 due out in Sept, I'll probably read it and to do that have to read Wolf at the Door beforehand.. I feel I need help!!
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VINE VOICEon 21 September 2010
I didn't hate this book, hence two stars but I just don't see the point of such novels. Quoted as a new Sean Dillon thriller, the man features on about three pages and on those doesn't do anything.

The storyline is pathetic, frankly and so outdated, I wonder how the author's editor bothered to have the book sent for publication. Maybe he has shares in a vodka company, since all this book does is promote the drink page after page (okay, there's a splash of cognac and a whiff of whisky and whiskey). How anybody does anything except fall over is beyond me. Actually, this might have been more exciting than the events which did take place.

I decided to read it, having swapped it for something else, thinking a bit of light relief was justified after a spate of serial killers and down-on-their-luck anti-heroes. Pity. The saving grace was that it took only a few hours to read and I think I can safely say I won't bother with any more Jack Higgins novels which means discarding a few more I've noted lurking, unread, on my bookshelves.

Ah well, back to Jack Kerley, Lee Child, et al.
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on 25 April 2011
Having really enjoyed the last Jack Higgins novel I read, I approached this one with genuinely positive expectations.
Oh dear.....I very rarely discard a novel half way through as I feel that I am letting the author down by not giving him the opportunity to build things up slowly. However, in this case I just couldn't manage to go any further as I was, well, erm......bored.
The only other thing to say is that if there is one thing that infuriates me, it is when best-selling authors get lazy in the later stages of their careers and start churning out novels without putting in the same effort as they did when they first started writing, presumably because they know that whatever they produce will make it to the best sellers list. Prime example is the brilliant Dean Koontz, whose early novels are mesmerisingly superb but whose later works are simply not worth reading. Dick Francis was the same. Jack Higgins? Let's hope not.
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Your reaction to A Darker Place will depend a lot on three things:

1. You feel comfortable with Mr. Higgins' premise that the Communists are still in control in Russia and running things pretty much the same way they always did.

2. You would like a change from Sean Dillon shooting up whoever the Russians send after him or the person Dillon is protecting.

3. You like some character development to balance your killings.

For me, the premise doesn't really work, but I am tired of the predictable Sean Dillon bloodbaths, and I like a balance between character development and "wet" work in my thrillers.

Alexander Kurbsky is a contradiction in one person: a successful Russian novelist, ex-soldier, and assassin who was happiest while living in the UK as a young man. Now, the powers-that-be in Russia want Kurbsky to penetrate Ferguson's operations in the UK. Kurbsky is "encouraged" to play along by the promise that his sister will be released from a remote gulag.

As the story is told, we know what Kurbsky is doing . . . and it isn't very easy to accomplish. Flashbacks help us understand the forces that have created today's Kurbsky while we also learn more about Major Roper. This is primarily Kurbsky's story, and it's interesting to guess which way he will turn next and whether he will be able to carry off the deception or not.

This is such a change from recent novels that it almost seems like a new series. That shift will cheer some and disappoint others.
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on 1 May 2009
Jack Higgins' Dillon novels have got so bad that they have now become somewhat of a guilty pleasure to read. Like watching a new Steven Seagal movie,one dosn't really want to admit to enjoying the experience. The odd thing about Higgins is that he still manages to entertain and keep you turning the pages.The dialogue is awful and the characters badly written. It reads in fact like a very bad play. There is little in the way of discription of location and the plot has craters rather than holes in it. Thankfully Dillon continues to only make a cameo appearance.I suspect Higgins is tired of him too.
Higgins still enjoys making Prime Minister Putin of Russia the chief bad guy.He names him..a real person but persists to have a fictional US President (Jake Cazelet) who has been in office for 12 years now?!!As always our prime minister remains unnamed.The whole premise is ridiculous.
Higgins sadly has not moved with the times and shows no intention of doing so and thats why he has become a guilty pleasure. Had he killed Dillon off after 3 or 4 books, ( the first ones were good, especially 'Thunder Point) then he could have got back to writing the decent thrillers and war/adventure stories that he built his reputation and millions on.
Thankfully not as bad as the awful Colin Forbes 'Tweed' series but with his next 'Dillon' out in 4 months time he could still get there!
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on 31 May 2009
Sorry to say that i was a bit disappointed with this book..prob because i expected a bit more involvement of my favourite character Sean Dillon, even tho it was advertised as the next Sean Dillon book! Readers should have been advised that it was a 'Prime Minister's Private Army' book as that would have been more accurate. The story was ok, but seemed to give an in depth insight to a character who eventually would probably join the Presidents entourage and not Ferguson's, so I was not hugely impressed with this installment...pity..
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on 9 February 2011
The only reason I finished this book was because I wanted to be fair when I reviewed it. I have been critical of Jack Higgins recent books and this time he has surpassed himself with his worst book so far.

There are all the usual ingredients of one of these novels reefer coats, judas gates, people getting their ear lobes shot off and Jake Cazalet is now well into his second decade as President of the USA. Sean Dillon hardly featured in the story at all and the plot seemed to jump from country to country and between time periods in a very distracting way.

I am finding it so hard to continue reading these novels that I'm a couple behind, some other readers reviews suggest the newer ones may be an improvement. I certainly hope so, it's hard to imagine they could get worse.
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on 28 September 2010
This is the first, and will probably be the last. Jack Higgins book I have ever read. It is to Ian Fleming what Ian Fleming is to John le Carre. The British agents involved are a bunch of self satisfied incompetents: no field craft whatsoever. One character is described, by another, as the greatest writer in the world; he has only written one book. Every body is incredibly attractive and amazingly talented, but, as I said, incompetent. They make decisions that are clearly going to lead to problems and, guess what, they lead to problems. The only way I got through this book was by treating it as a comedy: rubbish.
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on 13 August 2011
The only reason I gave this book 1 star is because 1 is the lowest rating offered. I haven't read a Jack Higgins book for some time and was shocked that a once top writer could publish such a poor and ridiculous book. The characters are all crass and all the British agents drink champagne and drive luxory cars - why ?

The worst part of the story is that a couple of totally unknown Russian women are allowed without any security checking into the inner sanctum of British Intelligence and treated like best friends that the senior Agents have known all their life. I cannot believe that Mr Higgins is not emabarrased to have his name assocaited with this book.
Perhaps this book was intended for the under 10 market but ended up in the adults section by mistake.

Never again for me there are far too many 'new' and better writers that deserve support in the book shops.
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on 6 July 2009
Having read several of Jack Higgins novels with Sean Dillon as the main character, this has to have been one of the poorest ones written to date. The cover of the book states that this is a new Sean Dillon story and he barely apppears in the whole book. I will grant that the Kurbsky character introduced is an interesting one (very similar to Dillon in certain ways). Apart from this, I found the book lacking content throughout and could have easily been half the length with the story being too predictable. And whats with the drinking problem of all the characters? I think that every two pages or so people are getting together to drink loads of whiskey, vodka or chamapagne (page filling?). Again, very disappointing book from such a great author
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