Friday, June 08, 2012

Forgotten Books: The Run to Morning -- James Graham

Harry Patterson has written under quite a few names other than his own: Hugh Marlow, Martin Fallon, Jack Higgins, and James Graham come to mind. For me, his novels that appeared in the U. S. in the '70s are some of the most entertaining adventure fiction around. I've read many of them at least twice, and I never fail to enjoy them. The books start fast and never slow down, and The Run to Morning is no exception.

Oliver Grant, former Special Forces operative in Viet Nam, is coerced by Dimitri Stavrou into taking on the task of breaking Stavrou's son out of a Lybian prison. Stavrou is holding Grant's blind sister hostage until the job is done. He's also forcing Grant to take along Justin Langley, a dangerous and deadly adversary. We know, of course, that the prison break will succeed, but there are plenty of twists both before and after to keep us guessing. And action. Lots of action on land and sea. Explosions, gunfights, chases, captures, escapes, you name it. It's all here, along with a great collection of bigger-than-life characters and plentiful derring-do.

The story is related in the first person except for one chapter. I found that break a little jarring the first time I read the book, and it strikes me the same way this time. I supposed Graham felt he had to do it, and I can see why. It's not a big deal. What I like is the way Graham breaks the "rules" for writing a thriller. He sprinkles adverbs liberally through out, and they work perfectly well for me. I'm always happy with adverbs, and I've never understood why some people object to them. Graham doesn't mind a cliche or two or three either, though he doesn't sprinkle them as liberally as the adverbs.

I mentioned the bigger-than-life characters, and in this book I got a special kick out of Stavrou, who'd a direct steal of Kasper Gutman. His physical appearance and dialogue are straight out of Hammett.

If you've never tried Graham/Higgins/Patterson/etc., this book is a fine place to start.


Richard R. said...

This sounds like a lot of fun, and might adapt well to an audio book.

George said...

RUN TO MORNING was one of the first Jack Higgins/James Graham books I'd ever read. But, I quickly started to track them down. Great action and suspense!!