From Publishers Weekly
Humdrum company would be a more accurate title. This sequel to Higgins's last, ripsnorting yarn, Midnight Runner, is mostly a by-the-numbers effort, though the numbers do speed by. The novel, the author's 35th, begins promisingly, playing to Higgins's greatest strength, WWII action. Young Baron Max von Berger, entrusted by Hitler during the last days of the Third Reich with his diary as well as the key to a vast fortune in Swiss banks, makes a daring and exciting escape from the Fhrerbunker. But once the narrative leaps toward the present, it begins to flag, with a second setup (including a nifty Saddam cameo) explaining why and how the baron inherits the wealth and power of the Rashid family, the Arab oil kingpins destroyed by Higgins's customary antihero, Sean Dillon, in the last book. Problematic is Higgins's use of von Berger and his thuggish son as villains here; they lack the evil charisma of the Rashids. To avenge the death of the Rashids, von Berger targets Dillon and his master, British black ops commander Gen. Charles Ferguson, who fights back with the help of the usual crew of "hard" men, including computer whiz Major Roper, White House black ops chief Blake Johnson, London tough guys Harry and Billy Salter, et al. Matters pick up a bit when von Berger's son kidnaps General Ferguson to Germany, but Dillon's rescue attempt whips by much too quickly, as if Higgins were hurrying to finish this book and get on to number 36. The author's fans will find enough gnarly action and sentiment here to make them anticipate his next, but this entry is sub par and the series as a whole could use a kick in the spine.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Higgins' classic novel of World War II espionage, The Eagle Has Landed
(1975), was the thriller that brought him fame--and probably fortune. Bad Company
, his thirty-fifth novel, also deals with WWII. As the war is drawing to a close in 1945, Hitler gives his diary to an aide for safekeeping. The diary contains an account of a meeting between representatives of Hitler and President Roosevelt at which they discussed ways to negotiate a peace treaty and then to attack Russia. The aide, Max von Berger, is now (in 2003) a billionaire industrialist and a silent partner with an international crime family. Seeking revenge for a killing, Berger vows to reveal the diary's secret that would destroy the current U.S. president. It's up to an American and a British agent to get the diary before it falls into the hands of the president's enemies. Like other Higgins' novels, the locales in this one are worldwide and include London, Scotland, Ireland, Germany, the U.S., and Iraq. (Yes, Saddam Hussein is one of the many characters.) Both the good guys and bad guys talk tough and smoke and drink a lot--Bushmills Irish whiskey, champagne, and schnapps are among their favorites. By a master of espionage novels, and certain to be requested at the circulation desk. George CohenCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved