After the last Jack Higgins book, I wasn’t holding out much hope but Pay The Devil was much better. Originally written under a pseudonym, it was re-released some time ago and bundled in a 2-novel volume that I picked up in Ko Tao.
The archaic writing style which partially spoiled the last novel works well in this one. It’s set in the US and Ireland around the end of the American Civil War so the language used actually adds to the story rather than making it feel clunky. It’s a fairly simple sale, too, with a handful of characters a good pace and some decent technical and historical points being raised.
As ever at the moment, I don’t have time to delve deeper, but I do recommend this if you have a lazy afternoon or two to spare.
No time to scrawl reviews (OK, I can’t be arsed), but I like to keep a note of what I’ve read. So recently I’ve made my way through:
The Travelling Vampire Show by Richard Laymon – not too bad, though not one of his best. 7/8 of the novel is very A Painted House with nothing really happening. Then the horror happens in the last couple of chapters. Basically, it feels like an overgrown novella but it reads well enough for it.
Outbreak by Robin Cook – it’s been a while since I read a Cook novel so I’ve got past the “they all seem the same” phase. Enjopyable, good characters, although a very predictable “twist” at the end.
The Sleeping Doll by Jeffrey Deaver – not one of his best, and he’s managed to shoehorn Lincoln Rhyme into it, as he always seems to. It’s fairly sizable for a Deaver and it does feel a little padded. You can pretty much see the chapters that would be cleaved out were it to be made into a film. Otherwise, a good read, although – maybe I’m developing psychic abilities – yet another predictable “twist”.
The Danger by Dick Francis – the first Francis I’ve read and I really enjoyed it. Short, compact, whatever. Compared to the first and third books above, this was far better. No additional padding, some great detail (although dated, given it’s 1980s publishing period), a bare minimum of characters and a good plot. I’ll definitely be keeping my eyes open for more of his stuff.
Edge of Danger by Jack Higgins – again, the first book I’ve read by a pretty popular author and I wasn’t too impressed. A little like my first exposure to Wilbur Smith – the story’s not too bad (though Smith’s was better) but the language and diction is very out of date. I thought It had been written in the 1970s until I came across a reference to the Millennium Dome. Still, it’s onle novel in a 2-novel volume so I’ll plough through the second as well and see how it goes.