Jack Higgins

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Jack Higgins


Jack Higgins was the principal pseudonym of best-selling novelist Harry Patterson

Harry Patterson, who lived in Jersey from the 1970s until his death in 2021, was the author of more than 60 novels. As Higgins, most were thrillers of various types and, after his breakthrough novel The Eagle Has Landed in 1975, nearly all were 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 continued to publish a new novel annually for many years.


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.


Films adapted from the novels.

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