Friday, September 14, 2012

Solo, by Jack Higgins

(hb; 1980)

From the inside flap:

"John Mikali, the central character of Solo, has three superior talents. He is a world famous concert pianist. He is a lover of remarkable accomplishments, who plays at lovemaking with the same brilliance with which he dominates an enthralled audience. And unknown to anyone except a lawyer named DeVille, he has become the perfect assassin, who at first killed only for revenge and now has become the ultimate international hit man.

"Of the many women who come fleetingly within Mikali's embrace, only one attracts his continued attention, perhaps because she is beautiful, or intelligent, or possibly because Dr. Katherine Riley is America's foremost authority on the terrorist killer mentality.

"As Solo opens, Mikhail shoots at point blank range. . . a Londoner named Maxwell Joseph Cohen, chairman of the largest clothing manufacturing firm in the world. As Mikhail makes his escape by car, the police in pursuit, he finds himself in a long, narrow tunnel, and what happens in that tunnel clinches Mikali's fate for it brings Colonel Asa Morgan after him.

"Morgan is a soldier's soldier, a magnificent fighter. . . What Asa Morgan wants now more than anything else on earth, is the life of the man whom the police know only as the Cretan Lover. Morgan has few clues to the Cretan's identity, but his relentless pursuit brings him to the expert on terrorists, Dr. Katherine Riley, who finds him as attractive as he does her. Thus begins. . . a triangle [in which] a woman finds herself in love with two men determined to destroy each other. . ."


Solo is a lean, gripping, waste-no-words, near-impossible-to-set-down thriller. One of my all-time favorite reads.

Worth owning, this.

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