on 13 August 2003
I do not want to spoil this book for those who have not read it. And to express my feelings I would have to do that......
All I would say is that it seems like Jack Higgins was up against a dealine with this book - Sean Dillon and General Ferguson are back. The story starts in 1945 and ends in modern day London and drwas you in with all the skill that Higgins has.
However, and this is the bad bit, the end of the story is wrapped up far too quickly - it's as if there was a deadline looming or Higgins just decided to tie up all the loose ends....
The story is great (4 stars) but the end takes away what could have been a fantastic book (1 star).
on 4 August 2003
Sean Dillon is back. Dillon, Ferguson and the gang are all back in this explosive new story. The plot speeds like an express train with plenty of twists and you hate Rossi, who has entered the story on the side of the Rashid's. Higgins marries the past of Hitler and his diary with the modern setting of the Oil fields of the Middle East and once again bring good up against evil.The characters remain strong and this is Jack Higgins, once more, at his best. All Higgins fans will read this without being able to put it down until it's completed.
Our story begins at the funeral of Kate Rashid, the villainess of Higgins's last thriller, whom undercover enforcer Sean Dillon managed to kill before she wrought her vengeance upon him for killing her three beloved brothers. Dillon and his companions watch on, increasingly uneasy at the presence of Baron Max von Berger, a multi-millionaire friend of the Rashid's, who has now interhited their old empire in the Hazar that is worth billions.
Now, von Berger himself wants revenge, and it is a matter of honour. Kate Rashid once saved his life, and she was a very dear friend. He is determined to exact justice on those who conspired to destroy the Rashid's and their empire: Dillon, his friend in the government General Charles Ferguson, and their colleague, White House insider Blake Johnson. But, unknown to them, Berger has a secret weapon. In the waning days of WWII Hitler entrusted von Berger, his close aide, with his diary detailing the final six months of the war, and a meeting he had with President Roosevelt which could have stopped the war before it started.
Bad Company is another of Higgins's increasingly by-the-numbers, cliched, formulaid thrillers that just reuse aspects from his other books (boats blown-up, planes crashed, assassinations, etc), but it is a primse example. A one character says of the events in the book, "It's like a bad novel", and that is exactly what they are. They are the evnets of a bad novel. however, they are also the envets of an entertaining story, and this is exactly what this is. A great story, a nice adventure. It's fast, thrilling, enjoyable, nothing more. nothing less. If you are looking for great writing, don't come here. If you're looking for a plot that wont fall apart under close scrutiny, also don't come here. If you're simply looking for a quick, easy read that's a bit James Pattersonesque in style, then do come here.
There's only one little problem, really: Dillon is flat and cardboard. Higgins has reduced him merely to proper nouns and pronouns, and as a result the reader tends to prefer the villains, who are more colourful, and that leads to dissappointment come the finale (which is a tad rushed), in which, of course, the heroes unfailingly win.
Still, Bad Company is light and easy reading, and it's relatively easy to overlook that almost everything within has been lifted from various other Jack Higgins books. This is about as close to literature as a TV guide, but, then, it doesn't intend to be.
on 17 May 2004
I picked this up to read on holiday and can't believe how bad it is. The characterisation is terrible, the plotting feeble and the actual writing itself is just beyond appalling. The hero, Sean Dillon, is apparently featured in other books by Jack Higgins. I haven't read these but I can only presume they are written for children - there is no other explanation for how bad this book is. Higgins can't write dialogue but fills the book with it nonetheless and there is not a single plot twist. Everything is spelt out for you pages in advance (prinicipally by the method of the antagonists telling each other exactly what they are going to do) and it's not as though you can even begin to care about the characters when they all appear to be a variation on a 'hard man who has killed lots of people'. Indeed, killing people and drinking whisky appears to be the only defining characteristic of every character in this book bar their names. Avoid at all costs.
on 28 May 2004
It had been several years since I last read a Jack Higgins novel and, having read this offering, it'll be even longer before I read another one!
Higgins prose, plot and characterisations are far too simplistic for the genre in which he seeks to compete.
Oddly, in the first part of this novel, Higgins accelerates through 50 years of history in a few pages and then takes the next 200 or so to languish in an absurdly obvious and tedious plot, laced with superficial, steriotypical characters before delivering a stupifyingly predictable ending.
Another day, another dollar Mr Higgins? Your readers deserve much, much better.
on 16 January 2004
In my review of Jack Higgins' last novel I said that his writing had become so formulaic that you could easily skip chapters and correctly guess exactly what was in them. "Bad Company" is even worse: anyone who has read an earlier Sean Dillon could probably write this novel themselves after reading the synopsis on the dust-jacket (I assume Higgins either wrote this in his sleep, or got his dog to write it). There is no sense of character (Ferguson, Dillon, the Salters etc all talk the same now), the action happens in all the usual locations (hotel piano bars, Wapping) and the plot development is nil.
"Bad Company" is identical to the previous half dozen Dillon stories: nasty baddies have an explosive secret on a central character, nasty baddies are out to get everyone but luckily Dillon gets them first. Having killed off all the Rashids in the last 2 books, Higgins has to create a new carbon-copy adversary, who is the surprise "silent partner" of the Rashids and who happens to own the only copy of Hitler's Diaries (which contain a nasty secret about the US president).
In short, the Dillon series has run its course and the author has nothing new to say about either the characters or the genre he so expertly mastered in the past. Mr Higgins needs to develop some new ideas before he pens another novel (preferably with a new set of characters).
on 6 September 2003
Bad Company is a must for all Jack Higgins enthusiasts, the book brings together all the thrills of the characters that have been a recipe for success for this author.
Sean Dillion the ex-Ira Enforcer, along with Ferguson the Prime Minister's head of the Secret Service, take on an ex-SS General who has Hitler's Diary and millions stored in Swiss Banks to continue the Fuhrer's plans. Intertwined plots with the IRA, Baron Berger, Kate Rasid (a very rich Arabic lady who owns huge fortunes), the British and United States Governments and Secret Services. Throw in Saddam Hussain, an Italian Assassin working for the Baron and a spattering of London's gangland results in the action never stopping for one minute.
To a committed Higgins fanatic this book was long awaited and did not disappoint.
Action, mystique, strong characters, excellent story lines and a brilliant ending whet your appetite for the next Higgins book.
Take a tip read this book if you dare and YOU will not put it down till it is finished..
Thanks Jack, hurry up with the next one.
on 7 March 2013
Jack Higgins was arguably one of the great novelists in the 'Action Hero' genre and with earlier works such as 'The Eagle has landed' and indeed even 'Eye of the Storm' that introduced Sean Dillon, the protagonist of this book, the reader got a fast paced, albeit rather at times too predictable work which utilised a real event (te 1991 Mortar attack on Downing Street) and wove a fairly complex narrative around it. Since then Higgins has revisited the Dillon series about 15 times, with this the eleventh title in the series - a number of reviewers have pointed out a 'by the numbers' quality to the later novels in the series, as though the author is really writing nt to entertain but merely out of a contractual obligation to his publisher.
Certainly the actual denouement of events is rather predictable here. Following the events of the previous tome, Midnight Runner, the 'Secret Armies' of the USA and UK are drawn into conflict with Baron Max Bon Berger, who had been tasked by Hitler with preserving the legacy of the Third Reich through a secret diary. I don't think you need to be especially perceptive to see where the story is going from the off. As with all Higgins' work in this series, it does move at a fair pace and is never boring so can be read quickly. However, the indestructability of the heroes really does defuse any sense of dramatic tension - plus, the book is pretty indistinguishable from either of it's two predecessors. Fans of the man will enjoy it but unlikely to win many new converts.