cover image Day of Reckoning

Day of Reckoning

Jack Higgins. Putnam, $25.95 (295pp) ISBN 978-0-399-14585-8

There's a jaunty, even slapdash feel to the storytelling in Higgins's exciting new novel featuring his longtime antihero, Sean Dillon. And that's fine. The clipped dialogue and minimal exposition suit their subject well, for Dillon--once the IRA's most feared enforcer, now working for British secret police--and his cohorts are men (and, occasionally, women) of few words and swift action. Higgins's new plot is as direct as his characters. The journalist wife of Dillon's old comrade Blake Johnson is killed in Brooklyn on orders of her latest object of investigation, Jack Fox, heir apparent to the powerful Solazzo crime family. The law can't touch Fox, but Blake and Dillon can and will. Aided by Dillon's black-ops boss, Brigadier Charles Ferguson, and his crew, plus a father/son team of British gangsters, Blake and Dillon strike again and again at Fox's wallet: shutting down his London gambling den; sinking a boat laden with his gold; destroying a cache of his weapons in Ireland; foiling his plans for a major robbery in London. A subplot in which Fox's uncle, the Solazzo don, spies on his nephew with increasing displeasure adds dimension to the linear narrative and leads to a clever denouement. The action is sleek and intensely absorbing, but the supreme pleasure is in those Higgins celebrates--tarnished warriors who value honor over life and who get the job done no matter what the cost. BOMC main selection; simultaneous Putnam Berkley Audio. (Mar.)