Jack Higgins seems like a bit of a departure from my normal reading material, but I have to confess to a weakness for his Sean Dillon books. I love the fast paced action, the fight against terrorism, and the sneaky way Ferguson and his group accomplish their tasks. To be honest though, I probably would not want to meet any of these characters in real life, no matter how much I like the stories.
In his newest book The Death Trade Jack Higgins relies on his tried and true formula for success. The mantra if it isn’t broke don’t fix it applies to Jack Higgins and his plots for the Sean Dillon series. They are in many ways similar. There is a threat, mostly al-Qaeda in the last several books, and Ferguson and his people deal with it using guns, explosives, and occasionally deceptive charm. They are sure to fly off in their Gulfstream to some part of the world. Something is sure to be blown to kingdom come. Somebody might get hurt, but if they are lucky they recruit a new person to be part of the team. In the end the threat is averted and most of them live to see another day. And don’t forget a very light touch of romance.
I enjoyed The Death Trade quite a bit. I was impressed that Jack Higgins has toned down the amount of foul language. It seems to me that as he has matured as a writer that his use of swearing has diminished. To me this only enhances his books. I know there were a few of his early books that I didn’t finish because of the extreme amounts of swearing. There is still a language issue, and this is why I won’t ever own a Jack Higgins book, but it has diminished significantly.
In The Death Trade an Iranian scientist, Simon Husseini, has made a startling breakthrough in his nuclear research with terrible implications. According to his research he will be able to make a nuclear bomb that will be at least four times stronger than the current ones, but he will need much less nuclear material. Iran is holding his mother and sister captive so that he will continue to work for the country.
In the mean time Sara Gideon, Ferguson’s newest team member, and Sean Dillon are given the assignment of trying to contact Husseini to see if he would be willing to switch sides and provide England with his technology. Before this can happen they have a run in with the drunken son of Emza Khan, one of Iran’s most prosperous businessmen and the man who just happens to be one of the caretakers of Husseini when he travels to Paris to accept an award.
Things quickly take a downward spiral as personal lives and professional lives begin to overlap for both sides. Sara is attracted to Declan Rashid, head of security for Husseini and cousin of the Khan family. Sean tries to keep her alive since he can’t afford the emotional toll of losing another friend. And Declan is in over his head and doesn’t even have a clue.
It’s a fast paced novel with layers upon layers of intrigue that keep you in suspense right up to the last moment. Some of the action is predictable, but some of it was quite unexpected, which makes for a better read. Of course it contains violence and foul language so reader discretion is required.