Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Day of Reckoning by Jack Higgins - Book Review

Publisher's Write-up

The incomparable Jack Higgins returns with a terrific new thriller, featuring his enigmatic hero Sean Dillon and a battle to defeat a Mafia don.

It's all action and suspense as Sean Dillon and his secret intelligence colleagues seek to help American White House security insider Blake Johnson avenge the death of his ex-wife, a reporter murdered for getting too close to a Mafia story.

In London, Beirut and Ireland, the daredevil friends are prepared to risk everything as they combine to thwart the ever more desperate ambition of Mafia frontman Jack Fox. But Fox has not become so powerful without learning a few tricks along the way. If Dillon and Johnson want to take him, they will have to face his personal brand of revenge. And it is a revenge every bit as deadly as their own.

Fast-paced and relentlessly gripping, Day of Reckoning is one of his finest works, destined to become yet another in a long line of international bestsellers.”

Day of Reckoning, is a book written by the British author, Jack Higgins and author who has written some best-selling books. This is Higgins' twenty-sixth novel and the eighth novel in the Sean Dillon series. According to the publisher, this book is supposedly a thriller, but I'd categorise this under the genre - “action”. It would appeal to people who like action movies.

This book features Sean Dillon, an ex-IRA person, who disliked killing innocent people in Ulster and hence, left IRA and decided to be a mercenary, who sold his services to various organisations, legal or illegal, he didn't care. In his life of crime, he was caught only once, at Bosnia by the Serbs and was sentenced to death. Brigadier Charles Ferguson, who was directly under the British Prime Minister decided to take him out of prison and in turn, Sean Dillon had to work for him. Sean Dillon says that he is a good actor and is also a good scuba diver. He is a person who doesn't care whether he lives or dies and hence, is an ideal mercenary.

The other main characters(protagonists) in this book are Blake Johnson, Charles Ferguson, Hannah Bernstein and Billy Salter and the only antagonist is Jack Fox, along with his aides.. Charles Ferguson is a Brigadier and he mainly wants to get his things done. He doesn't mind if his approach is unethical, for example, he doesn't mind hiring gangsters to take out gangsters. Hannah Bernstein is a Chief Superintendent in Scotland yard and she, on the other hand, gives respect to morals and values. She hesitates to do anything which is against the law and because of Sean Dillon's past, she is never willing t apologise him. Blake Johnson is an American, a friend of Dillon and Ferguson, is in charge of the President's personal force and is a close friend of the president and from what I could understand, for him, revenge is the priority. Billy Salter is petty criminal, nephew of an old fashioned criminal who runs a pub in London. Dillon hires him for his scuba diving abilities. Jack Fox, the main antagonist, is the frontman of the Solazzo family, a notorious mafia gang. He has a lot of illegal businesses and anyone who gets too close to him, is killed.

Coming to the plot, it starts when Blake Johnson's ex-wife, Kate Johnson is killed by Jack Fox's mafia gang for investigating into the businesses of the Solazzo family. Blake Johnson, who comes to know of this wants revenge. He gets the details about the businesses of the Solazzo family from the tapes that she had recorded and he didn't want to take revenge by killing him directly. He wanted to ruin him by destroying every business of his (this was Dillon's idea) and making him run out of cash and thereby, because of his failures, the old don of the Solazzo family, Don Marco Solazzo would take Fox out of the business. Most of the story takes place in London, but to destroy the mafia's businesses, the story also goes to Manhattan, Ireland, Cornwall and Lebanon. So to describe the plot in one line, “Fox attacks, Johnson and friends plan the counter-attack”. 

The language of the author was good although, in one place, he had written, “She was always chronically short of money”. When you say, “chronic”, you need not even supply the adjective “always”. But for that, the language was very good. I also believe, if you're not sure of something, it is better not to use it. The research work was good, in most cases, but what I'm particularly referring to here is in this book, there is a surgeon named “Daz”, who is supposed to be an Indian, but I've never heard of such a surname. The first name was never mentioned so, I assumed that he was an Indian Christian but, he also mentions that he is a Hindu. I've never heard of the Indian Hindu surname “Daz”. One thing to be appreciated is the author didn't digress from the main aim of the story. But, if you ask me, the “Publisher's write-up” is misleading. “Fox's own brand of revenge” - Yes, Fox did start very strongly, but as the story went on, he nearly became a forgotten character and made a cameo appearance in the end.

This book is not very boring, but there is nothing special in this. It may qualify for a Hollywood action movie and spending one and a half hours is not a problem but reading three 359 pages for such a book is certainly not worth it. It is as simple as this “Good fellows take out the bad fellows”. The appropriate age group for this book in my opinion is 15+.

I would not suggest anyone to buy this book but I feel it can be read once, by borrowing it from a library or a friend.

My rating – 4 / 10.

Have a nice day,


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