27 July 1929
Newcastle upon Tyne, England
|Alma mater||London School of Economics|
|Genre||Thriller, espionage, mystery|
Jack Higgins (born 27 July 1929) is the principal pseudonym of British novelist Harry Patterson. He is one of the best-selling authors of popular thrillers and espionage novels. His breakthrough novel The Eagle Has Landed (1975) sold over 50 million copies and was adapted into a successful film by the same title. Some of his other notable books are A Prayer for the Dying (1987), The Eagle Has Flown (1991), Thunder Point (1993), Angel of Death (1995), Flight of Eagles (1998), and Day of Reckoning (2000). His 83 novels in total have sold over 150 million copies and have been translated into 55 languages.
Jack Higgins was born Henry Patterson on 27 July 1929 in Newcastle upon Tyne, England. After his father abandoned him soon after he was born, his Irish mother returned with him to her home town of Belfast, Northern Ireland, to live with her mother and grandfather on Shankill Road. Raised amid the religious and political violence of Belfast, Harry learned to read at the age of three, when he was tasked with reading the Christian Herald to his bed-ridden grandfather. At night he would crouch beneath a window and read by the light of the street lamps.
I read Oliver Twist when I was six. Not because it was a classic, but because it was a book that was available. I probably didn't understand everything in it—for years I used to pronounce the word rogue as rogger—but I didn't care. I just loved reading.
After his mother remarried, the family moved to Leeds, where Harry attended the local Roundhay grammar school. He proved to be an indifferent student, and left school with few formal qualifications. In the early 1950s, he joined the army and served as an non-commissioned officer in the Household Cavalry in the East Yorkshires near the East German border for two years. During his military service, Harry discovered that he possessed both considerable sharpshooting skills and considerable intelligence.
After leaving the army, he returned to London to study sociology at London School of Economics while supporting himself as a driver and laborer at night. He chose the school for its "history of nonconformism". He received his third class degree in sociology after three years of study. After getting a teaching qualification, took a job lecturing in social psychology and criminology at Allerton Grange Secondary School Leeds. He later taught liberal studies at Leeds Polytechnic, and later education at James Graham College, which became part of Leeds Polytechnic in 1976.
In 1959, Higgins began writing novels. One of his aliases was James Graham. The growing success of his early work allowed him to take time off from his teaching, and he eventually left the classroom to become a full-time novelist. He currently lives in Jersey, in the Channel Islands, and continues to publish a new novel annually.
Patterson's early novels, written under his own name as well as under the pseudonyms James Graham, Martin Fallon, and Hugh Marlowe, are brisk, competent, but essentially forgettable thrillers that typically feature hardened, cynical heroes, ruthless villains, and dangerous locales. Patterson published thirty-five such novels (sometimes three or four a year) between 1959 and 1974, learning his craft. East of Desolation (1968), A Game for Heroes (1970) and The Savage Day (1972) stand out among his early work for their vividly drawn settings (Greenland, the Channel Islands, and Belfast, respectively) and offbeat plots.
Patterson began using the pseudonym Jack Higgins in the late 1960s; his first minor bestsellers appeared in the early 1970s, two contemporary thrillers The Savage Day and A Prayer For The Dying but it was the publication of his thirty sixth book, The Eagle Has Landed, in 1975, that made Higgins' reputation. The Eagle Has Landed represented a step forward in the length and depth of Patterson's work. Its plot (concerned with a German commando unit sent into England to kidnap Winston Churchill) was fresh and innovative (although the plot is clearly reminiscent of Alberto Cavalcanti's wartime film Went the Day Well?, which itself was directly based on the 1942 Graham Greene short story The Lieutenant Died Last), and the characters had significantly more depth than in his earlier work. One in particular stood out: Irish gunman, poet, and philosopher Liam Devlin. Higgins followed The Eagle Has Landed with a series of equally ambitious thrillers, including several (Touch the Devil, Confessional, The Eagle Has Flown) featuring return appearances by Devlin.
The third phase of Patterson's career began with the publication of Eye of the Storm in 1992, a fictionalized retelling of an unsuccessful mortar attack on Prime Minister John Major by a ruthless young Irish gunman-philosopher named Sean Dillon, hired by an Iraqi millionaire. Cast as the central character over the next series of novels, it is apparent that Dillon is in many ways an amalgamation of Patterson's previous heroes — Chavasse with his flair for languages, Nick Miller's familiarity with martial arts and jazz keyboard skills, Simon Vaughan's Irish roots, facility with firearms and the cynicism that comes with assuming the responsibility of administering a justice unavailable through a civilized legal system.
Higgins met his future wife Amy Hewett while both were studying at the London School of Economics. They were married in 1958, shortly after receiving a $210 advance for his first novel—"the biggest wedding present we could have had." They have four children: Sarah (born 1960), Ruth (born 1962), Sean (born 1965) and Hannah (born 1974). Their daughter Sarah Patterson has also worked as a writer, penning the novel The Distant Summer (1976). Higgins lives on Jersey in the Channel Islands with his second wife, Denise.
|1959||Sad Wind from the Sea||Harry Patterson||Mark Hagen||John Long|
|1960||Cry of the Hunter||Harry Patterson||Martin Fallon||John Long|
|1961||The Thousand Faces of Night||Harry Patterson||Hugh Marlow||John Long|
|1962||Comes the Dark Stranger||Harry Patterson||Martin Shane||John Long|
|1962||Hell Is Too Crowded||Harry Patterson||Matthew Brady||John Long|
|1962||The Testament of Caspar Schultz||Martin Fallon||Paul Chavasse||Abelard-Schuman||The Bormann Testament|
|1963||The Dark Side of the Island||Harry Patterson||Hugh Lomax||Fawcett|
|1963||Pay the Devil||Harry Patterson||Clay Fitzgerald||Barrie & Rockliffe|
|1963||Seven Pillars to Hell||Hugh Marlowe||Gavin Kane||Abelard-Schuman||Sheba|
|1963||Year of the Tiger||Martin Fallon||Paul Chavasse||Abelard-Schuman|
|1964||Passage by Night||Hugh Marlowe||Harry Manning||Abelard-Schuman|
|1964||A Phoenix in the Blood||Harry Patterson||Jay Williams|
|1964||Thunder at Noon||Harry Patterson||John Dillinger||Revised in 1983 as Dillinger|
|1964||Wrath of the Lion||Harry Patterson|
|1965||The Graveyard Shift||Harry Patterson||Nick Miller|
|1965||The Keys of Hell||Martin Fallon||Paul Chavasse|
|1966||A Candle for the Dead||Hugh Marlowe||Sean Rogan||The Violent Enemy|
|1966||The Iron Tiger||Jack Higgins||Jack Drummond|
|1966||Midnight Never Comes||Martin Fallon||Paul Chavasse|
|1966||The Violent Enemy||Hugh Marlowe||Sean Rogan||A Candle for the Dead|
|1967||Brought in Dead||Harry Patterson||Nick Miller|
|1967||Dark Side of the Street||Martin Fallon||Harry Youngblood|
|1968||East of Desolation||Jack Higgins||Joe Martin||Berkley|
|1968||Hell Is Always Today||Harry Patterson||Nick Miller|
|1969||A Fine Night for Dying||Martin Fallon||Paul Chavasse|
|1969||In the Hour Before Midnight||Jack Higgins||Stacy Wyatt||The Sicilian Heritage|
|1969||The Sicilian Heritage||Jack Higgins||Stacy Wyatt||In the Hour Before Midnight|
|1970||A Game for Heroes||James Graham||Owen Morgan|
|1970||Night Judgement at Sinos||Jack Higgins||Jack Savage|
|1971||The Last Place God Made||Jack Higgins||Sam Hannah|
|1971||Toll for the Brave||Jack Higgins||Ellis Jackson|
|1971||The Wrath of God||James Graham||Emmet Kogh|
|1972||The Khufra Run||James Graham||Jack Nelson|
|1972||The Savage Day||Jack Higgins||Holt|
|1973||A Prayer for the Dying||Jack Higgins||Martin Fallon||Holt|
|1974||The Run to Morning||Martin Fallon||Oliver Grant||Bloody Passage|
|1975||The Eagle Has Landed||Jack Higgins||Liam Devlin||Holt|
|1976||Storm Warning||Jack Higgins||Holt|
|1977||The Valhalla Exchange||Jack Higgins||Hamilton Canning|
|1978||Day of Judgement||Martin Fallon||Simon Vaughan||Holt|
|1979||The Judas Gate||Jack Higgins||Walter Schellenberg|
|1979||To Catch a King||Harry Patterson||Walter Schellenberg|
|1980||Solo||Jack Higgins||Asa Morgan||Stein and Day||The Cretan Lover|
|1981||Luciano's Luck||Jack Higgins||Harry Carter||Stein and Day|
|1982||Touch the Devil||Jack Higgins||Liam Devlin||Stein and Day|
|1983||Dillinger||Jack Higgins||John Dillinger||Thunder at Noon revised and reissued|
|1983||Exocet||Jack Higgins||Charles Ferguson||Stein and Day|
|1985||Confessional||Jack Higgins||Liam Devlin||Stein and Day|
|1986||Night of the Fox||Jack Higgins||Harry Martineau||Simon & Schuster|
|1989||Memoirs of a Dance Hall Romeo||Jack Higgins||Simon & Schuster|
|1989||A Season in Hell||Jack Higgins||Tonny Villiers||Simon & Schuster|
|1990||Cold Harbour||Jack Higgins||Dougal Munro||Simon & Schuster|
|1990||The Eagle Has Flown||Jack Higgins||Liam Devlin||Simon & Schuster|
|1992||Eye of the Storm||Jack Higgins||Sean Dillon||Putnam||Midnight Man|
|1993||Thunder Point||Jack Higgins||Sean Dillon||Putnam|
|1994||On Dangerous Ground||Jack Higgins||Sean Dillon||Putnam|
|1994||Sheba||Jack Higgins||Gavin Kane||Berkley|
|1995||Angel of Death||Jack Higgins||Sean Dillon||Putnam|
|1995||The Morgan Score||Jack Higgins||Asa Morgan|
|1996||Drink with the Devil||Jack Higgins||Sean Dillon||Putnam|
|1996||Year of the Tiger 1996||Jack Higgins||Paul Chavasse||Berkley|
|1997||The President's Daughter||Jack Higgins||Sean Dillon||Putnam|
|1998||Flight of Eagles||Jack Higgins||Harry Kelso||Putnam|
|1999||The White House Connection||Jack Higgins||Sean Dillon||Putnam|
|2000||Day of Reckoning||Jack Higgins||Sean Dillon||Putnam|
|2001||Edge of Danger||Jack Higgins||Sean Dillon||Putnam|
|2002||The Keys of Hell||Jack Higgins||HarperCollins|
|2002||Midnight Runner||Jack Higgins||Sean Dillon||Putnam|
|2003||Bad Company||Jack Higgins||Sean Dillon||Putnam|
|2004||Dark Justice||Jack Higgins||Sean Dillon||Putnam|
|2005||Without Mercy||Jack Higgins||Sean Dillon||Putnam|
|2006||The Bormann Testament||Jack Higgins|
|2006||Sure Fire||Jack Higgins||Putnam||With Justin Richards|
|2007||The Killing Ground||Jack Higgins||Sean Dillon||Putnam|
|2007||Rough Justice||Jack Higgins||Sean Dillon||Putnam|
|2008||Death Run||Jack Higgins||Putnam||With Justin Richards|
|2009||A Darker Place||Jack Higgins||Sean Dillon||Putnam|
|2009||First Strike||Jack Higgins||Putnam||With Justin Richards|
|2009||Sharp Shot||Jack Higgins||Putnam||With Justin Richards|
|2009||The Wolf at the Door||Jack Higgins||Sean Dillon||Putnam|
|2010||The Judas Gate||Jack Higgins||Sean Dillon||Putnam|
|2012||A Devil is Waiting||Jack Higgins||Sean Dillon||Putnam|
|2014||The Death Trade||Jack Higgins||Sean Dillon||Putnam|
|1967||The Violent Enemy||Hugh Marlowe||Don Sharp||Tom Bell||From the novel A Candle for the Dead|
|1972||The Wrath of God||James Graham||Ralph Nelson||Robert Mitchum|
|1976||The Eagle Has Landed||Jack Higgins||John Sturges||Donald Sutherland|
|1984||To Catch a King||Harry Patterson||Clive Donner||Robert Wagner||Television film|
|1987||A Prayer for the Dying||Jack Higgins||Mike Hodges||Mickey Rourke|
|1989||Confessional||Jack Higgins||Keith Carradine||Television series, 4 episodes|
|1990||Night of the Fox||Jack Higgins||Charles Jarrott||George Peppard||Television film|
|1996||On Dangerous Ground||Jack Higgins||Lawrence Gordon Clark||Rob Lowe||Television film|
|1996||Windsor Protocol||Jack Higgins||George Mihalka||Kyle MacLachlan||Television film|
|1997||Midnight Man||Jack Higgins||Lawrence Gordon Clark||Rob Lowe||Television film, from the novel Eye of the Storm|
|1998||Thunder Point||Jack Higgins||George Mihalka||Kyle MacLachlan||Television film|
- Crace, John (30 July 2010). "A Life in Writing: Jack Higgins". The Guardian. Retrieved 24 September 2014.
- Canby, Vincent (26 March 1977). "The Eagle Has Landed (1976)". The New York Times. Retrieved 25 September 2014.
- "Author Interview: Jack Higgins". HarperCollins. Retrieved 24 September 2014.
- Hauptfuhrer, Fred (17 January 1977). "The Eagle Has Landed Jack Higgins in a High Tax Bracket ...". People (New York: Time, Inc.) 7 (2). Retrieved 25 September 2014.
- Higgins, Jack (2010). Confessional. Open Road Media. ISBN 978-1480479449.
- Patterson, Sarah (1976). The Distant Summer. New York: Simon & Schuster. ISBN 978-0671222574.
- Swaim, Don (16 January 1987). "Audio Interview with Jack Higgins". Wired for Books. Retrieved 14 October 2014.
- "Jack Higgins Homepage: Books". Scintilla. Retrieved 25 September 2014.
- Jack Higgins at the Internet Movie Database
- The Unofficial Jack Higgins Homepage
- Jack Higgins Blog
- Author's page at HarperCollins Publishers