Havoc by Jack Du Brul
For fans of Jack Du Brul and his series character Philip Mercer, the wait for the latest book has been far too long! At least Mercer is returning to us in a fashionable hardback edition. And it's possible that absence has made my heart grow fonder, because I found this novel a joy to read from start to finish.
Perhaps working with the master, Clive Cussler, is affecting Du Brul's own work, because Havoc has a distinctly Cusslerian format. There's the mix of contemporary history, ancient history, and how current day events can shed light on and solve the mysteries of our time. The novel opens during the final hours of the Hindenberg's voyage. The events that occur right before the airship's destruction are... startling.
From there we jump to Mercer in Africa, and his meeting with Cali Stowe--who I'm pretty sure is my favorite of Du Brul's leading ladies--under fairly stressful circumstances. After surviving their first meeting in the midst of a coup attempt, little do the two realize they'll soon be reunited stateside. The mystery that began on the Hindenberg in 1937 is intimately tied to the events of unfolding around them.
And once the plot gets rolling, the action is non-stop taking Mercer and Cali to locations ranging from an east coast casino to the lost tomb of Alexander the Great. As a matter of fact, it's possible my only complaint in the whole novel was Mercer's wanton destruction of historic artifacts. I was SO caught up in the story that I'd cringe every time something priceless was destroyed. I kept having to tell myself, It's just a story!
But what the real fans want to know is: Is Harry in the book? Of course he is, and up to all his old tricks! This time Du Brul got the balance just right. There's exactly enough Harry, but not too much. And there were some neat new supporting characters added in this book as well.
Like I said, it's possible that absence has made my heart grow fonder, but I think Havoc is as good as anything Jack Du Brul has ever written. It may very well be his best yet. He sure better not make us wait several years for the next installment in this terrific series!