Thursday, 30 December 2010

Book Number 1 The Keys of Hell - Jack Higgins

Started 28th December 2010 and finished on the same day.

Well I thought I'd start this project a few days early and get it off to a great start by reading a book in one day. I have previously only read one other Higgins book ( Midnight Runner) and my experience from that wasn't too favourable. To be honest Midnight Runner was probably one of the worst books I've ever read !But I was searching my bookcase for a small book that I could think about reading in one day and this book, at 141 pages, was my best option. I had actually read somewhere that Jack Higgins wasn't as good as he used to be and that his earliest books were his best.

Well I wasn't disappointed. The Keys to Hell is a fantastic little book. In total ( with a few breaks along the way) I read it in about 5 hours and 25 minutes. It isn't the sort of book I normally navigate towards, I am normally drawn towards the horror/ fantasy genre. Thrillers are not normally my bag. In fact over the years I have started and failed to finish my fair share of them.

This book was a nice little surprise for me and way outweighed my expectations. If this book is anything to go by then Higgins's earlier works are his best. There wasn't anything special about this book, there was no amazing story slowly being revealed and there was no convoluted character developments or significant back stories. It is essentially a fun " action packed" thriller. For the first time in a long time , this book actually had me on the edge of my seat and I could feel myself in the middle of the Albanian marshes and could feel every dramatic explosion and battle as it enfolded.

If you want a fun, action book that you can read in a day, then I would definately advocate this. It just had enough thrills and twists and action to keep me interested all the way through. It wasn't a chore to read ( like Midnight Runner) it was a pleasure. Has it converted me from horror to action thrillers ? Well maybe it is a bit early to tell, however I will certainly be more likely to read another Higgins book, especially an early one such as this.

Have I learned anything as a writer, from reading this book ? Well it has taught me that you don't always have to have three dimensional characters that are slowly revealed throughout and you don't have to have a story that has as many layers as a red onion. Sometimes a book can be fun. Sometimes reading can be just like sitting down in front a camp fire and being told a really good story. Because that's what it felt like reading this book in one day.


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