The Death Trade

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The Death Trade is a new (2014) Jack Higgins thriller featuring that ex IRA enforcer and now British agent, the unstoppable Sean Dillon.

Jack Higgins’ thrillers are ridiculous; a motley collection of unbelievable characters ricochet from one implausible encounter to another as members of a clandestine government service whose reach and exploits are limited only by the imagination of the author, pausing only long enough to enjoy plenty of good food and, especially, drink.  So why are these books so entertaining?  Maybe it’s because they’re like the old westerns, rousing fights between “the good guys” and “the bad guys”, where the guys in the black hats do their evil best, but you know the guys in the white hats are going to win.

This updated contest between good and evil involves an Iranian scientist who is developing an atom bomb “four times more powerful” than the usual model (??), his expertise deriving from experience in the medical use of radioactive isotopes.  Okay, we won’t quibble about the science, but I also had some trouble with timing and logistics in this plot.  Almost every time someone walked out a door he or she was seen by another character who happened to show up at that exact moment, and hardly a conversation wasn’t overheard by someone standing behind a door.  The overall impression was of a cross between a thriller and a French farce.

One of the members of the good guys team in this book is Sara Gideon, granddaughter of a British rabbi.  If I recall correctly, there was a previous female team member who was the daughter of a rabbi and who was a love interest for Dillon until Higgins apparently got tired of it all and killed her off.  Is there something sexy about being a rabbi’s daughter, or a rabbi’s daughter who shoots people?  And an Iranian general named Ali ben Levi?  Really?

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