Alistair MacLean violates all the current "rules." His chapters are around 20 pages long, and some paragraphs run more than a page. He sprinkles adverbs liberally throughout. He does a lot of "telling." He's often verbose. His heroes aren't flawed. Like Johnny Harlow in this novel, they're skilled, competent guys who can go without sleep for days, get beaten to a bloody pulp (literally) and still outsmart and out-fight the bad guys ("vermin" Harlow calls them) every time.
And yet I still get a huge kick out of his novels, even some of the ones that aren't quite in his top rank, like The Way to Dusty Death. It's set up so that during most of the book, the reader has little idea what's going on. Johnny Harlow, the best Gran Prix driver ever, appears to be at fault in the accident that kills his good friend at the beginning of the book, but it's clear that there's more to it than we're told. MacLean puts his characters through their paces, witholding all kinds of information, until almost the end of the novel. The reader can put some things together by paying attention, but not everything. The book rockets right along until all is revealed, and then it's done. No hanging around. Over and out.
Maybe it's because I read MacLean's books when I was a young whippersnapper, but they continue to entertain and amuse me, even on a second or third reading. I guess my taste just hasnt' improved, and I don't mind a bit.