Neil Mallory is working as a courier in 1930s Brazil moving mail and machine parts around the Amazonian rain forest in his small plane. One day his plane crashes and he is only saved by the bravery of the enigmatic Captain Hannah. It seems that Hannah can give Mallory a new job and a new plane, but it will mean travelling into the darkest parts of the forest and coming up against the indigenous peoples. Can Mallory prove his bravery by helping the nuns that have settled down river?
This is a 'classic' Jack Higgins novel from 1971 that actually deserves the heading classic. It is set in an area and era that I have read very little about. Higgins blend of Boys Own adventure works really well in this novel as it feels much more realistic than many of his books. The characters of Mallory and Hannah are great as they become friends, but also rivals. With added complications coming in the form of a femme fatale and a missing nun, this book proves to be an adventure from beginning to end.
As a fan of Higgins, I would be the first to criticise some of his books as being samey and poorly written. 'The Last Place God Made' falls into neither of these traps and succeeds in being some if his most original and best work. With his latest books becoming uninspired perhaps it is time you looked back on his classic books?
A different setting to many of Higgins usual novels, although fans will still be glad to see the usual type of characters and plenty of killing....
The book follows the adventures of Neil Mallory, a pilot for hire in the Brazilian Jungle he is saved from a crash site by Sam Hannah.
Hannah was an ace in the First World War but now with no adventure in his life he is turned into an alcoholic, brawling, swindler who thinks only of himself.
Hannah enlists Mallory as a pilot delivering mail and goods to outposts in the area.
All around the Huma Indian tribe are massacring the white man. Only Mallory can see things from their point of view. When a holy order of the sisters of pity is slaughtered Mallory finds that 2 are unaccounted for.
When the missing nun's sister turns up (an up and coming MGM film star) they request help to try and rescue the nuns or recover the bodies.
What happens next is a lot of violence, varied deaths and testosterone by the bucket load..... just the way it should be.
This was written at a time when Higgins was still producing interesting and exciting work. There's a great sense of time and place, and the characters are both believable and sympathetic. Don't let some of Jack Higgins' weak later books put you off - this is the real deal.