Jack Higgins

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Jack Higgins, alter ego of Harry Patterson

Jack Higgins (born 27 July 1929) is the principal pseudonym of novelist Harry Patterson. Patterson, who has lived in Jersey since the 1970s, is the author of more than 60 novels. As Higgins, most have been thrillers of various types and, since his breakthrough novel The Eagle Has Landed in 1975, nearly all have been bestsellers. The Eagle Has Landed sold tens of millions of copies worldwide.


Patterson was born in Newcastle upon Tyne and moved to Belfast with his mother after his parents' marriage foundered, and was raised there amid religious and political violence. First in Belfast and later in Leeds, Patterson proved to be an indifferent student and left school without completing his studies. He later went to Beckett Park College for Teachers.


He served two years as a non-commissioned officer in the Household Cavalry (the Blues and Royals) on the East German border during the 1950s. He found, during his military service, that he possessed both considerable sharpshooting skills and considerable intelligence (scoring 147 on an army intelligence test).


After leaving the army, he returned to school, studying sociology at London School of Economics and Political Science while supporting himself as a driver and labourer. After completing his degree, he worked for a time as a teacher and began writing novels in 1959. The growing success of his early work allowed him to take time off from his teaching, and he eventually left the classroom to become a full-time novelist. He continues to publish a new novel annually.


Patterson published 35 novels, sometimes three or four a year, between 1959 and 1974, learning his craft. He began using the pseudonym Jack Higgins in the late 1960s, but it was the publication of The Eagle Has Landed in 1975 that made his reputation. Higgins followed The Eagle Has Landed with a series of equally ambitious thrillers.

The third phase of Patterson's career began with the publication of Eye of the Storm in 1992, a fictionalized retelling of an unsuccessful mortar attack on Prime Minister John Major by a ruthless young Irish gunman-philosopher named Sean Dillon, hired by an Iraqi millionaire. Cast as the central character over the next series of novels it is apparent that Dillon is in many ways an amalgamation of Patterson's previous heroes.


Films adapted from the novels.

  • The Eagle Has Landed
  • Confessional (1989)
  • Midnight Man (1995)

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