Jack Higgins

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For the American editorial cartoonist, see Jack Higgins (cartoonist). For the Irish Gaelic footballer, see Jack Higgins (Gaelic footballer).

Jack Higgins (born 27 July 1929) is the principal pseudonym of UK novelist Harry Patterson. Patterson has authored more than 60 novels. As Higgins, most have been thrillers of various types and, since his breakthrough novel The Eagle Has Landed (1975 in literature|1975), nearly all have been bestsellers. The Eagle Has Landed sold over fifty million copies.[1]

Patterson was born in Newcastle upon Tyne, England. He moved to Belfast, Northern Ireland, with his mother after his parents' marriage foundered and was raised there amid religious and political violence. First in Belfast and later in Leeds, Patterson proved to be an indifferent student and left school without completing his studies.[citation needed]

He found a home in the British Army, however, and served two years as a non-commissioned officer in the Household Cavalry (the Blues and Royals) on the East German border during the 1950s. Patterson found, during his military service, that he possessed both considerable sharpshooting skills and considerable intelligence (he scored 147 on an army intelligence test).[citation needed]

University[edit]

After leaving the army, he returned to education, studying sociology at London School of Economics and Political Science while supporting himself as a driver and labourer. After completing his degree, he worked for a time as a teacher at Allerton Grange Secondary School Leeds and began writing novels in 1959. He taught Liberal Studies at Leeds Polytechnic, and later Education at James Graham College (which became part of Leeds Polytechnic in 1976). One of Patterson's 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.[citation needed]

Family[edit]

Patterson's family includes daughter Sarah Patterson, who has also worked as a writer, penning the novel The Distant Summer (1976).[citation needed]

Work[edit]

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[2] 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.

Bibliography[edit]

Series[edit]

Paul Chavasse[edit]

  • The Testament of Caspar Schultz (1962) a.k.a. The Bormann Testament
  • Year of the Tiger (1963)
  • The Keys of Hell (1965)
  • Midnight Never Comes (1966)
  • Dark Side of the Street (1967)
  • A Fine Night for Dying (1969)

Simon Vaughn[edit]

  • Dark Side of the Street (1967)
  • The Savage Day (1972)
  • Day of Judgement (1979) (a number of sources have this listed as featuring Paul Chavasse, but they are in error; this is a prequel to The Savage Day)

Nick Miller (writing as Harry Patterson)[edit]

Liam Devlin[edit]

The Presidents' Daughter (1997)

Dougal Munro and Jack Carter[edit]

Sean Dillon[edit]

Chance Twins (Rich and Jade)[edit]

(written with Justin Richards)

  • Sure Fire (2006)
  • Death Run (2007)
  • Sharp Shot (2009)
  • First Strike (2009)

Non-series novels[edit]

Writing as Harry Patterson[edit]

  • Sad Wind from the Sea (1959)
  • Cry of the Hunter (1960)
  • The Thousand Faces of Night (1961)
  • Comes the Dark Stranger (1962)
  • The Dark Side of the Island (1963)
  • Hell Is Too Crowded (1962)
  • A Phoenix in the Blood (1964)
  • Wrath of the Lion (1964)
  • The Valhalla Exchange (1977)
  • To Catch a King (1979)
  • Dillinger (1983)

Writing as Hugh Marlowe[edit]

  • Seven Pillars to Hell a.k.a. Sheba (1963)
  • Passage By Night (1964)
  • A Candle for the Dead (1966) a.k.a. The Violent Enemy

Writing as James Graham[edit]

  • A Game for Heroes (1970); later also attributed to Jack Higgins (3rd Berkley edition, 2002)
  • The Wrath of God (1971)
  • The Khufra Run (1972)
  • The Run to Morning (1974) a.k.a. Bloody Passage

Writing as Jack Higgins[edit]

  • The Iron Tiger (1966)
  • East of Desolation (1968)
  • In the Hour Before Midnight (1969) a.k.a. The Sicilian Heritage
  • Night Judgement At Sinos (1970)
  • The Last Place God Made (1971)
  • Toll For The Brave (1971)
  • The Savage Day (1972)
  • The Khufra Run (1972)
  • A Prayer for the Dying (1973)
  • Storm Warning (1976)
  • Solo (1980) a.k.a. The Cretan Lover
  • Luciano's Luck (1981)
  • Exocet (1983)
  • A Season in Hell (1988)
  • Memoirs of a Dance Hall Romeo (1989)
  • Sheba (1995)
  • Pay The Devil (1999)

Filmography[edit]

Films adapted from the novels.

References[edit]

External links[edit]