Rough Justice

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 08 February, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 08 February, 2009, 12:00am

Rough Justice

by Jack Higgins

Harper, HK$91

Having made his name with tales of Nazi-related derring do (most famously The Eagle Has Landed), Jack Higgins has updated his act in recent years with Sean Dillon. The hero of 14 thrillers, Dillon was a member of the IRA but went freelance when the bottom fell out of terrorism in Northern Ireland. This being Jack Higgins there are always other baddies to kill with as few syllables as possible - and in Rough Justice these nasties mainly live in Russia. I have no idea what Vladimir Putin has done to Higgins but it must be pretty bad, because the early chapters are full of coruscating broadsides against the Russian premier: he wants a return to the cold war and he is enlisting Muslim terrorists to achieve it. Unfortunately for Putin, Dillon and his merry band of psychos are standing in the way. Although how anyone manages to do anything in Rough Justice escapes me, Higgins having only about eight words to a line. Luckily, eight words are all Dillon needs to '[shoot] Michael Quinn between the eyes without hesitation'. Fewer describe how Harry Miller 'and Olivia made love very quickly'. Higgins' stories are slighter than previously but they remain perfectly formed.