EDGE OF DANGER. Hardcover – 2000
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Mr. Higgins's invincible hero in Edge of Danger is the familiar Sean Dillon, ex-IRA, who continues his role in earlier Higgins books of foiling terrorists on behalf of the British government. The terrorists here come from a wealthy, influential British family (the Daunceys) with Bedouin roots (the Rashids) as well. The Rashids employ IRA and Arab mercenaries to execute their plans, but get their own hands pretty dirty in the process.
The book is marred by several problems. First, Dillon's inevitable success makes the action seem redundant. Second, there's too much action crammed into the story (enough for about four books) so you don't get the careful build-up of tension and then relief that makes action thrilling to read about. You just get another punch in the stomach, and move on to the next. Third, this book is about meglomania on such a grand scale as to be like looking inside an insane asylum. That robs the story of validity. Fourth, the villains are cut out of such thin cardboard that all you can tell about them is that they are crazy, rich, and stupid. The threat from their plots is hard to take seriously. Fifth, the book relies on references to products and brands as the primary means to establish mood and setting, a weak method to employ in such a sketchy book.
I was surprised by how far Mr. Higgins has strayed from his roots as a thoughtful thriller writer. In Edge of Danger, he has almost written a satire of his own work. In fact, the book is almost a crossover into the worst of the post-Ian Fleming 007 books.
The point he wants to make is that honesty and loyalty are what count, rather than one's ancestors, money, or influence. That message seems distorted by the fact that Sean Dillon turns out to be available to run errands for the rich without fully understanding what he is facilitating. What good are honesty and loyalty if they can be suborned by almost anyone, including the creeps in this book? This early betrayal of the Dillon character by Mr. Higgins sets up a reason for Dillon to be angry and want revenge, but even that's not carried off well. Between violent episodes, the good guys and the bad guys are having civil little chats with one another suggesting that the bad guys should mend their ways.
Unlike many series, you could skip this book and not miss a single important development about Sean Dillon and his colleagues. If you do decide to read Edge of Danger, set a time limit and read quickly. That will make the experience more exciting by giving you a real source of suspense. Will you finish the book before your time runs out?
After you finish the book (if you insist on reading it), I suggest that you contemplate what makes thrillers thrilling. What draws you to this genre? How can you tell if a book will meet that promise from reviews? Which reviewers are reliable and which praise everything? How can you evaluate whether to finish such a book once you've started? What face do you want evil to show, in order to make the triumph of good rewarding?
Seek out the spread of goodness in all that you do!
1) They are a great and easy read
2) Totally believable
3) The stories are new and upto date
4) I know the characters like my friends
The Edge of Danger kept me guessing (although some bits are predictable). I thoroughly enjoyed it and polished it off too quickly.
Write more Dillon books please Mr Higgins !
I found myself reading more and more nonsense the further that I got into the book. This could have been all ended within 10 pages, as we knew who was ordering the assassins and yet we get two hundreds pages of a totaly unbelievable plot. I could not understand why with the resources of both the UK and US government they just didn't kill all the Rashids and blame it on some fanatical terrorist group. I also have to say that the ending is one of the worst I have ever come across, it's as if Higgins' has run out of ideas on what to do, or has got as bored with the plot as I had. I think it's about time Dillon got put out to pasture, if this is the best we are going to get from now on and Higgins went back to what he does best writing fast paced action thrillers that really get you involved in the story - which this book does not.
I see the next book deals with the sister setting out to get her own back, if it is told in any way like this one, I will definitley give it a miss.
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