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A Prayer for the Dying - Large Print Hardcover – Large Print, May, 1995

4.6 out of 5 stars 38 customer reviews

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Hardcover, Large Print, May, 1995
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Review

“Jack Higgins is the master.” —Tom Clancy


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About the Author

Since The Eagle Has Landed―one of the biggest-selling thrillers of all time―every novel Jack Higgins has written has become an international bestseller. He has had simultaneous number-one bestsellers in hardcover and paperback, and many of his books have been made into successful movies, including The Eagle Has Landed, To Catch a King, On Dangerous Ground, Eye of the Storm, and Thunder Point. He has degrees in sociology, social psychology, and economics from the University of London, and a doctorate in media from Leeds Metropolitan University. A fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, and an expert scuba diver and marksman, Higgins lives in Jersey on the Channel Islands. --This text refers to the Preloaded Digital Audio Player edition.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 302 pages
  • Publisher: Thorndike Pr (May 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0786203595
  • ISBN-13: 978-0786203598
  • Product Dimensions: 1.5 x 6 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (38 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,476,781 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Archie Mercer VINE VOICE on September 3, 2002
Format: Hardcover
I was first introduced to Jack Higgins with 'The Eagle has Landed' and 'Storm Warning', two WWII era stories. I enjoyed his ability to develop characters while keeping the action moving and suspenseful. However, it was this book, 'A Prayer for the Dying' that made me a lifelong fan of his writing. Actually written before he exploded into popularity with 'The Eagle has Landed' this tale is deeper and more moving than any of his books, before or after. Each character, both good and bad, have demons to overcome.
The story is about Martin Fallon, an ex-IRA executionor, who has bailed out on the movement after an tragic miscalculation caused a bus-load of school children to be blown up. We find him in London trying to leave the country and being chased by both his old comrades and Scotland Yard. He is blackmailed into killing one crime boss by another, and is seen by a priest Father De Costa. The story takes Fallon from executionor to hero as he is forced to protect the life of the priest at all costs.
Higgins takes the time to develop each character in this story into very complex people. Beside Fallon and De Costa we're introduced to Jack Meehan, (the crime boss with a twisted sense of fairness), his brother Billy (the original thing from under the rock), Miller (the frustrated Scotland Yard Detective), and Anna de Costa (the blind niece). Each character has wonderful and surprising quirks. A great example: Jack Meehan is an legit undertaker with many non-legit sidelines including prostution, gambling, and drugs. However, he is also VERY protective of the elderly, feeling they are always being taken advantage of. He actually crucifies one of his employees for trying to swindle an 87 year old widower out of 20 pounds.
To go further into the plot would spoil all the great surprises and twists. If you're a Jack Higgins fan you MUST find this book and read it. It's out of print but any good used book store will have it and it's well worth the trouble.
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Format: Hardcover
I must have read this book five years ago-- probably more like seven. In any case, it wasn't my copy-- we were renting a cabin, and it happened to be on the bookshelf-- I picked it up, and could NOT put it down until I read the whole thing, at the expense of my vacation. Not that I minded, mind you. ;) In any case, Higgins' tragic tale will have you aching over every moment. In fact, this novel is nearly perfect-- except for a couple of sexually explicit scenes, which I skipped quickly over. Due to that fact, this is not for sensetive readers at all, and usually I'm one of those-- but, frankly, after all the books I've ever read, this one was in my life for a mere twenty-four hours, and I remember it as one of the best.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Over the course of five decades, he has used many names; Martin Fallon is just one of them. He carries a huge load of guilt for the tragic errors of his past. As a soldier for many years in the Irish Republican Army — the military force known as the Provos — he was responsible for an uncounted number of deaths. Now Fallon is a mercenary of sorts, a gun for hire.

A tale of violence and redemption

A Prayer for the Dying opens in the city of Hull, in the north of England, early in the 1970s. In hopes of securing a passport and the necessary funds to flee the country, Fallon agrees to kill the chief rival of a local crime boss, and he carries out the assignment with cold efficiency. There’s just one hitch: standing just feet away in the cemetery where the murder takes place, a Catholic priest witnesses the act. Thus begins an intriguing tale of violence, guilt, contrition, and redemption.

A crime boss, a killer for hire, and a confession

Six principal characters figure in this well-crafted and suspenseful thriller, all of them fully fleshed-out and interesting in their own right. Apart from Fallon, they include the ruthless crime boss, “Dandy” Jack Meehan, and his sex-crazed younger brother, Billy; the priest, Father Michael da Costa, a former soldier in Britain’s Special Air Service, a British special forces unit; the priest’s blind niece, Anna da Costa; and Detective-Superintendent Miller, the veteran cop who heads the Hull CID. The four-way relationship among these characters revolves around the inviolability of the confession in the eyes of the Church.

About the author

Jack Higgins is the favorite pseudonym of the bestselling English author Harry Patterson.
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Format: Hardcover
I first read this book about two decades ago. I think I can best describe the book by describing how that first encounter with APFD went. I had borrowed the book from a friend. I read it at one sitting - it's a quick read - and felt compelled to share it with others. In the week for which I had the book, I loaned it to four other friends then read it once more before returning it. Since then, every two years or so, I'd have an urge to read it again and I'd go out and find a copy. The book can almost be called a classic.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
4.5 stars. Read this thriller by Jack Higgins years ago and it's stood the test of time in my eyes. Martin Fallon is an interesting character. An executioner for the IRA, he is haunted by a mistake that he will carry for the rest of his days. He's contracted by the thoroughly evil Jack Meehan to murder a rival in England for the price of a safe passage. When the hit is witnessed by the local Catholic priest Michael da Costa their lives become intertwined.

It's a fast flowing story, violent in parts, filled with strong characters but it was the softly spoken, tortured Martin Fallon that made this a keeper for me. It's somewhat dated now but still an excellent read.
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