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Title: Day of Reckoning (Sean Dillon)
Author: Jack Higgins
Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons
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For years, Jack Higgins's "battalions of loyal fans" (People) have thrilled to his "rip-roaring" (Associated Press) novels of honor, bravery and irresistible intrigue. Now, the master of suspense reunites the powerhouse team from his explosive bestseller The White House Connection to bring down an international crime boss-and this time, there's much more at stake than duty and honor…
A journalist is dead after making the mistake of getting too close to international crime boss Jack Fox-but Fox made a greater mistake in killing her. Because the murdered woman's ex-husband is Blake Johnson, head of the clandestine White House department known as The Basement. Now Johnson and his Irish compatriot Sean Dillon are going to bring Fox's empire down around him.
But Fox is not a man who backs down for anyone. So if Johnson and Dillon want to take him on, they will have to face his own brand of revenge-and it is a revenge every bit as deadly as their own…
In Jack Higgins's new Mafia, no one wears gold chains or carries a tommy gun. Deals are done quietly and often resemble those in the "legal" business world. In fact, the tentacles of the Cosa Nostra extend into the most public of industries, including TV, film, and publishing. When Truth magazine reporter Katherine Johnson starts looking too closely at the life of millionaire socialite and mob boss Jack Fox, however, the veneer of gentility dissolves immediately. Her body is found one morning floating in the East River, and the coroner suspects foul play.
Wrenched by the pain of his loss, her ex-husband--former FBI agent Blake Johnson--decides to take the law into his own hands. In fact, as part of the secret White House department known as The Basement, Blake actually has the president's permission to take out Fox in the best way he sees fit. As Blake begins his Fox hunt, Day of Reckoning evolves into an international duel between the masterminds of justice and criminality. Blake struggles to exact his revenge by slowly undermining his opponents' businesses. And Fox matches him at every turn.
While the contest between the power brokers is compelling on the surface, Higgins is unable to infuse his characters with enough life to make the story as engaging as it might have been. The heroes and villains borrow heavily from the classic James Bond play book, complete with brandy snifters, brandname cigarettes, Saville Row suits, and secret, world-dominating empires. It's fun to read as a sort of homage to thrillers of the early Cold War period, but Day of Reckoning never matches the success of such earlier Higgins greats as The Eagle Has Landed and seems to fall all too frequently into cliché. --Patrick O'Kelley