Putnam, Aug 2008, $25.95
On the surface Harry Miller is an ordinary person; an MP who is in realty the counterpart to Blake Johnson, the American President’s top security man. Blake runs the black ops group the Basement, a unit that works outside the law to administer justice and protect the country and its people. Blake and Harry met in Banu, Kosovo; each was there to inspect the country’s leaders and to prevent a Russian Officer Igor Zorin from torching a mosque that would have reignited the fighting.
President Putin and his right hand man Ivan Volkov decide Miller should be taken out and assign the mysterious the Broker, who has never been seen, to contact former IPPI agent Michael Quin. Quinn contacts one of his agents to take out the MP. Miller knows he is under surveillance and being stalked, but takes out the contact killer. He also insures that a plutonium shipment by boat is carefully monitored and tracked all the way. Putin knows that Miller with Major Ferguson’s’s people were responsible (the British version of the Basement) and wants him dead. The plan works only the wrong person dies; Miller with Ferguson’s help will not rest until all those involved in the assassination plot are dead.
Suspense grandmaster Jack Higgins writes another fascinating tense thriller that is loaded with action. Yet with all the non--stop action, the story line also contains the political realties of the world today with insight into Muslim fundamentalists, Russia’s efforts to return to superpower status, the NATO response, and the fragile peace in several places like Northern Ireland. However, as always is the case in a Mr. Higgins’ thriller, his key characters seem real even when they perform seemingly surreal stunts; and yes cold blooded killer Sean Dillon is in the middle of the maelstrom.