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Tuesday, 3 February 2015

The Wolf at the Door

By Jack Higgins
5 Stars

This is a “new” book in my personal library. There is a book exchange outside of the Family Resource Centre in Sackville, New Brunswick. My wife likes to go through it looking for appropriate reading material for members of the family, usually my youngest son. I spotted this book by Jack Higgins and claimed it with great haste. Back in the seventies as a youth I read his first blockbuster The Eagle Has Landed and several others since then. He's a master storyteller and after reading it for enjoyment, I plan to try to dissect some of what he does as an author.

I recognized the writing style immediately, lots of short rapid fire scenes. This is a thriller/suspense novel and he grabs the reader by the seat of the pants and pulls you right along. The structure of the book did initially fake me out. It starts out with a coordinated attack on a group of already popular characters from the author's previous books. I assumed that Sean Dillon was the protagonist. Ivanov and Lermov were obvious antagonists but they have some PIRA mastermind running the show.

We meet Daniel Holley halfway through the book, we go back in time and go through his story. We learn who he is and his motivations. By the time we get through his story and we watch his well coordinated plan go awry, we can't help but like him. I'm watching the remaining pages dwindling thinking, “If you want me to be satisfied with the ending, you better not kill this guy off.” I won't spoil the ending but my hats off to a master storyteller. That was a great way to end the book. Makes me want to read more.

I of course heartily recommend this book. He is one of the truly great writers alive today. I know he's eighty-five but I sincerely hope he writes a bunch more.