Comes the Dark Stranger by Jack Higgins
== About the author ==
Jack Higgins is a pseudonym of Harry Patterson. He has also written under the names of Martin Fallon, James Graham, Hugh Marlowe and his own name.
He is probably most well known for the Sean Dillon series of books and the Second World War novel, The Eagle Has Landed.
== Plot synopsis ==
Martin Shane has been in a fog for the past 7 years. He has a piece of shrapnel stuck in his brain which left him with no memory of who he is, until one day, he has a freak accident which dislodges the shrapnel and causes him to remember everything.
This is set in about 1959 / 60. The last memory he has from 7 years ago is of being captured and interrogated along with a few other comrades, whilst fighting in the Korean War as part of the British Army. He knows one of his other comrades betrayed them to the Chinese which resulted in the death of 200 soldiers. He comes back to visit a small town where all the 3 or 4 soldiers in question now live. He wants to find out which one of them betrayed them and exact revenge before the shrapnel in his brain kills him . . .
== My thoughts ==
This was originally published in 1962 and I believe this audio book version was released in 2011. This was unabridged and is 4 hours and 37 mins in length. It seemed much longer than this when I was listening to it though. I kept stopping and coming back to it over a few days.
The narrator, Michael Page does a poor job of reading this. I thought his narration was wooden and didn't sound authentic. The voice of the way he voiced the main character made him sound older than what I imagined him to be and none of the other characters were voiced particularly well.
It is a 'who done it' type novel. It did keep me guessing as to who it could be for most of the novel. Yet, I could not relate to any of the characters. Most of the story is spent with the main protagonist, Martin Shane, wandering around from suspect to suspect, basically saying if you are the one that betrayed us then I will kill you. He doesn't have any smart plan to draw out the guilty party, instead relying on circumstance and chance to direct him.
I also didn't like the way the relationship between Martin and his romantic interest was portrayed, considering the revelations Martin finds out about her. I wouldn't have thought he would have wanted to have stayed with her after discovering what he does.
I have read one of Higgins other earlier novels recently, 'The Thousand Faces of Night', which I didn't like also. I think his earlier work isn't as good as a lot of his novels from the 70's onwards.
The story starts off promising, and I did like the twist at the end when we find out who betrayed Martin Shane and his comrades. Apart from that, I found the bit in between dreary and dull.
== Price and availability ==
This audio book is available on CD from the Amazon site for £16.82 with free delivery. I would recommend you try getting this from your local library though, if you really want to read it.
== Summary and recommendation ==
I give this one star. It isn't one of Jack Higgins best works. You are better off giving this a miss. I also didn't really like the voice of the narrator reading this audio book.