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THUNDER POINT

After 20 years of writing both WW II and contemporary thrillers, Higgins combines the two in a breakneck yarn about the wreck of a Nazi submarine—and its bombshell secret. There's always much disbelief to suspend with a Higgins novel, and never more than here, where the author, per his usual recycling, revives two characters from Eye of the Storm (1992) in an incredible way. The story begins in 1945 as Hitler gives Martin Bormann a briefcase containing a document signed by the Duke of Windsor, agreeing to his ascent to the throne after a Nazi invasion of Britain. Cut to 1992 and the Caribbean island of St. John, where a diver chances upon a sunken Nazi sub and pulls from it the captain's log. The diver flies to London; there, a translation of the log indicates that the sub carried Bormann to America, where he escaped just before the sub sank—with his briefcase still aboard. Word of the find reaches British intelligence honcho Charles Ferguson, who, conferring with the PM, determines that the Windsor document must be retrieved—but the diver is accidentally killed before he reveals the sub's location. So who does Ferguson tap to find the sunken vessel? Not an SAS agent or even James Bond, but IRA assassin Sean Dillon, who tangled with Ferguson in Eye of the Storm when the Irishman tried to blow up British PM John Major. The absurdity of Dillon working for Ferguson aside, the action whips along as the two fly to St. John, where—aided by a young lovely (who's a typically chaste Higgins heroine: there's no sex here)- -they scramble to find the sub. Meanwhile, a venal British blueblood and his drug-smuggling Cuban ally, both with family ties to Nazism, are determined to reach the sub first.... Manly action with cliffhangers galore that's too derivative and contrived to be Higgins's best—but that's close enough to hit the charts with a wallop.

Pub Date: June 23, 1993

ISBN: 0-399-13835-8

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 1993

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MAGIC HOUR

Wacky plot keeps the pages turning and enduring schmaltzy romantic sequences.

Sisters work together to solve a child-abandonment case.

Ellie and Julia Cates have never been close. Julia is shy and brainy; Ellie gets by on charm and looks. Their differences must be tossed aside when a traumatized young girl wanders in from the forest into their hometown in Washington. The sisters’ professional skills are put to the test. Julia is a world-renowned child psychologist who has lost her edge. She is reeling from a case that went publicly sour. Though she was cleared of all wrongdoing, Julia’s name was tarnished, forcing her to shutter her Beverly Hills practice. Ellie Barton is the local police chief in Rain Valley, who’s never faced a tougher case. This is her chance to prove she is more than just a fading homecoming queen, but a scarcity of clues and a reluctant victim make locating the girl’s parents nearly impossible. Ellie places an SOS call to her sister; she needs an expert to rehabilitate this wild-child who has been living outside of civilization for years. Confronted with her professional demons, Julia once again has the opportunity to display her talents and salvage her reputation. Hannah (The Things We Do for Love, 2004, etc.) is at her best when writing from the girl’s perspective. The feral wolf-child keeps the reader interested long after the other, transparent characters have grown tiresome. Hannah’s torturously over-written romance passages are stale, but there are surprises in store as the sisters set about unearthing Alice’s past and creating a home for her.

Wacky plot keeps the pages turning and enduring schmaltzy romantic sequences.

Pub Date: March 1, 2006

ISBN: 0-345-46752-3

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Ballantine

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2005

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THE CATCHER IN THE RYE

A strict report, worthy of sympathy.

A violent surfacing of adolescence (which has little in common with Tarkington's earlier, broadly comic, Seventeen) has a compulsive impact.

"Nobody big except me" is the dream world of Holden Caulfield and his first person story is down to the basic, drab English of the pre-collegiate. For Holden is now being bounced from fancy prep, and, after a vicious evening with hall- and roommates, heads for New York to try to keep his latest failure from his parents. He tries to have a wild evening (all he does is pay the check), is terrorized by the hotel elevator man and his on-call whore, has a date with a girl he likes—and hates, sees his 10 year old sister, Phoebe. He also visits a sympathetic English teacher after trying on a drunken session, and when he keeps his date with Phoebe, who turns up with her suitcase to join him on his flight, he heads home to a hospital siege. This is tender and true, and impossible, in its picture of the old hells of young boys, the lonesomeness and tentative attempts to be mature and secure, the awful block between youth and being grown-up, the fright and sickness that humans and their behavior cause the challenging, the dramatization of the big bang. It is a sorry little worm's view of the off-beat of adult pressure, of contemporary strictures and conformity, of sentiment….

A strict report, worthy of sympathy.

Pub Date: June 15, 1951

ISBN: 0316769177

Page Count: -

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Nov. 2, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1951

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