The White House Connection

Title:                      The White House Connection

Author:                  Jack Higgins

Higgins, Jack (1999). The White House Connection. New York: G. P. Putnam’s Sons

LCCN:    98042577

PR6058.I343 W48 1999


Date Updated:  October 30, 2015

The Irish peace process is at risk because of the actions of a heartbroken mother in Higgins’s 29th thriller. American-born and married to a British lord, 60-ish Lady Helen Lang, the “nicest person you’ll ever meet,” has taken it upon herself to avenge the brutal death of her son, Peter, at the hands of the Sons of Erin, a fringe Irish-nationalist group led by a psychotic Vietnam vet and with operatives in Dublin, London and the U.S.

Other members include gangster Tim Pat Ryan, IRA terrorist Jack Barry, U.S. Senator Michael Cohan and a mysterious member known only as the Connection, who is revealed to be a mole in the White House. With nothing more than an old government file, a modified computer and a .25 revolver, Lady Helen makes short work of most of these villains, managing at one point to knock off three of them in four paragraphs.

Naturally, this wholesale violence attracts the attention of Higgins regulars Brigadier Charles Ferguson and Sean Dillon, who try to protect Senator Cohan during his upcoming visit to London. It’s not giving away any surprises to reveal that eventually the bad guys get theirs, but there are precious few surprises here, and a bloodless, cartoonish quality to everything from the dialogue to the killings. Higgins’s attempt at characterizations are unpersuasive at best to prove that she’s really a decent sort, Lady Helen passes up a chance to kill Senator Cohan in favor of shooting a couple of muggers.

As usual, Sean Dillon’s prowess as a gunman includes the ability to outshoot men who have already drawn a gun on him. As for the style, everything is fast, flat and featureless, like driving a car on cruise control in Kansas. Higgins’s fans may be pleased, but other readers will probably want a more exciting ride.


Title:                      Retribution

Author:                  Dale Brown

Brown, Dale (2007) and Jim DeFelice. Dale Brown’s Dreamland: Retribution. New York: HarperCollins

ISBN: 978-0060889463


Date Posted:      May 20, 2013

I think I have read about 10 of the Dreamland books, but I have so many paperbacks in boxes to be read, I am not totally sure. I guess I liked the “Dreamland Team” because its stories are futuristic probably. However, they are written close enough to cutting edge technology that probably many of the weapons and equipment part of this novel do actually exist.

This is the sixth Dreamland novel that these two authors have written. It is full of military action involving soldiers with nerves of steel, modern, and futuristic airplanes, and drone-like weapons along with electronic equipment that boggles your mind.

Lieutenant Colonel Tecumseh “Dog” Bastien is the leader of Dreamland. The Dreamland group respects and admires Dog’s leadership. There are those above his rank that think the leadership of such a powerful group should be commanded by a higher ranking officer but for now, Dog is it with all the pressures that come with that leadership. The love life of this group is one that evolves as the story progresses as members do have some loved ones in the same group they are in making military objectives extremely hard at times. But things flow quite well under Dog’s command.

Twenty-five nuclear warheads have been lost during warring factions involving India, Pakistan, and China, with the United States caught in the middle, supposedly friendly with all three nations. On paper that works out well, however, in practice it becomes a game of tag and war to get those warheads before anyone else can. Dreamland was assigned to find the warheads before a nuclear war got started.

Using all the modern technology possible, the Dreamland team starts their search, a search that becomes a very dangerous “game” for all involved. Airplanes, ships, drones, and land troops all search the areas that the latest technology has given them as the most likely scattered locations where these warheads might be found. The battles are carried out in a state of war at least for those on the Dreamland team and the searchers for the other nations, who all are intensely trying to find the dangerous warheads before anyone else does or they get set off and do some extreme damage.

I get into these stories as if I were a grunt with them, on the ships, the airplanes, in the sea trying to get rescued, or on the ground guided by my fellow countrymen and women. There is death on all sides even though there is not a war in progress at the time, but the action and out-guessing opponents move to get the weapons is as stressful and dangerous as a full-out war.

I felt as though I was with these soldiers in their personal and group battles mentally and physically. I could visualize every bullet that hit one of them. I wished I were there to assist in their medical care. After several books I almost feel part of their family, happy when things go properly and hurting so terribly when things go wrong.

I am somewhat disappointed that I was unable to find any of the Dreamland books listed in college and university catalogs. They are in the Library of Congress, but in storage boxes at Fort Meade. The call number I give is only approximate.