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A Prayer for the Dying
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A Prayer for the Dying

3.8  ·  Rating Details ·  871 Ratings  ·  32 Reviews

Everyone has demons to overcome, but Martin Fallon has more than most. A ruthless hitman and executioner for the IRA, Fallon is haunted by a mistake that led to the explosion of a school bus full of children.   When he’s threatened by the sadistic Meehan brothers, Fallon must agree to one last hit. But this time there’s a witness: a priest named Father De Costa. And when e

Paperback, 0 pages
Published September 3rd 1985 by Signet (first published 1973)
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Roger Cottrell
Oct 22, 2008 Roger Cottrell rated it it was amazing
In the 1970s, when Higgins still taught adult education in Leeds and was clearly styling himself on Ted Lewis, he wrote some brilliant books. This was one of them. It got me reading as a kid back in the days when I hated school and ran away to join the army at 17. Sadly, when Higgins moved to Gurnsey and started supporting Margaret Thatcher he lost something. One of the great things about a Prayer for the Dying, apart from its interesting allusions to the writing style of Graham Greene and the f ...more
Michael Martz
Jan 12, 2017 Michael Martz rated it it was amazing
I doubt I can contribute any insight into this fine novel beyond the thousands of reviews already out there. I read a few of Higgins' books ages ago, hadn't taken one up in decades, but saw 'A Prayer for the Dying' listed somewhere as being an underappreciated gem so I thought I'd seek it out. I'm glad I did..... excellent story in a concise package, good character development, fine writing, fast pace, a very flawed but sympathetic 'hero'..... the stuff on which great thrillers are built! Next s ...more
Mal Warwick
Apr 25, 2016 Mal Warwick rated it really liked it
Over the course of five decades, he has used many names; Martin Fallon is just one of them. He carries a huge load of guilt for the tragic errors of his past. As a soldier for many years in the Irish Republican Army — the military force known as the Provos — he was responsible for an uncounted number of deaths. Now Fallon is a mercenary of sorts, a gun for hire.

A tale of violence and redemption

A Prayer for the Dying opens in the city of Hull, in the north of England, early in the 1970s. In hopes
Mary Chrapliwy
Sep 01, 2011 Mary Chrapliwy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley-books
This book was short, but it was mighty.

Ex-IRA soldier using the name Martin Fallon, is pushed into performing a contract hit (on a very bad mobster by another very bad mobster) in exchange for a new passport, new identity, and a trip on a ship out of England for a new life. His soul carries wounds from an IRA bombing gone bad. A priest witnesses his contract killing, but Fallon can't bring himself to kill the priest even though he has seen his face. What follows is a painful journey for Fallon
I love Jack Higgins books and have gradually been working through all of them. This one in particular I had high hopes for as a lot of people talk about it being with The Eagle has Landed as one of their favourites. I must admit that I have never seen the film that was made of it so had no preconceptions about this book to start with.

This is one of Higgins older books, originally written in 1973. The book was an easy enough read and like most Higgins went quickly. Unfortunately, unlike his more
Oct 12, 2013 Cphe rated it really liked it
Shelves: irish
4.5 stars. Read this thriller by Jack Higgins years ago and it's stood the test of time in my eyes. Martin Fallon is an interesting character. An executioner for the IRA, he is haunted by a mistake that he will carry for the rest of his days. He's contracted by the thoroughly evil Jack Meehan to murder a rival in England for the price of a safe passage. When the hit is witnessed by the local Catholic priest Michael da Costa their lives become intertwined.

It's a fast flowing story, violent in par
Alexis Goold
Feb 26, 2016 Alexis Goold rated it it was ok
Shelves: spy
Probably my least favourite of Jack Higgins' efforts (and I have read just about all of them over the years). I first read it as a teen and have read it again a couple of times since. While the characters are exceedingly interesting, I found them underdeveloped in places, and overly simplified in others. Such great opportunity for more depth went begging.
Higgins' has a great formula, and for a quick page-turning, Sunday afternoon time waster, it does the trick. However, it is a long way down my
Mostafa Ibrahim
Dec 09, 2016 Mostafa Ibrahim rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
'How long has this been going on?' da Costa asked her.
'For three months, Father.'
The exact period since she had last been to Mass.
'This man has made love to you?'
'Yes, Father.'
'How often?'
'Two or three times a week. At the office. When everyone else has gone home.
'He has children?'
'Three, Father.' There was a pause. 'What can I do?'
'The answer is so obvious. Must be. Leave this place, find another job. Put him out
of your mind.'
'I can't do that.'
'Why?' he said, and added with calculated brutality
Jun 16, 2013 Dominique rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was one of the few books I picked up when I first started reading and I was very happy to say it did entertain me.

The characters where right on the spot on this one. The plot along with the twist were really engaging. There were moments that would make you go "Woah,now that was pretty epic".

Overall it was short story,but really catches you with its characters and its moments all written well with perfect execution. Jack Higgins does what he does best with this one I haven't read his other
Dec 20, 2010 Christa rated it really liked it
This older book is a great IRA read. It was recommended on the FB nook page, and I down loaded it almost immediately based on positive comments. Jack Higgins is an alias of Harry Patterson, who also wrote The Eagle Has Landed, and the Wolf at the Door. The fact that he lived in northern Ireland as a child (born in Britain) gives the book a real sense of authenticity. I recommend it, if you can stand the violence. I am re-reading James Joyce's trilogy as a standby.
Oct 26, 2011 George rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Προσευχή για το μελλοθάνατο", εκδόσεις Bell.

Δεύτερο βιβλίο που διαβάζω από Τζακ Χίγκινς, τόσο μέσα στο μήνα όσο και γενικά, σίγουρα είναι κλάσεις ανώτερο από το πρώτο, το Λάκι Λουτσιάνο ο Σικελός. Η πλοκή ενδιαφέρουσα, με τις αποκαλύψεις και την δράση της και η γραφή πάρα πολύ καλή, με χιούμορ και ωραίες περιγραφές ανθρώπων και γεγονότων. Μην περιμένετε αγωνιώδεις ρυθμούς και ένταση, όμως σαν ανάγνωσμα είναι ενδιαφέρον και πολύ ευχάριστο.
A very early Higgins novel which shows a storyline he will follow in future books. A former IRA assassin Martin Fallon is forced into committing an assassination, unfortunately there is a witness which he must attempt to shut up. The method he chooses is unacceptable to his employer and they have it out. Ok read
A.J. Riccio
Feb 09, 2015 A.J. Riccio rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

A classic good versus evil story. A tale in which forgiveness is prevalent and man is predominantly good. To know good you must know evil and the embodiment of evil is portrayed by the mortician. The bad guy. Higgins has a smooth easy flowing style and this story is a very easy read.
Randy Grossman
Jun 21, 2016 Randy Grossman rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This a thoroughly interesting account of Catholic doctrine and tradition mixed a great deal of suspense surrounding the main character's ultimate death wish. Higgins touched on several touchy subjects without being vulgar. And the inside look at the funeral business was interesting as well. The ending was pretty good and ended as advertised in the title of the book.
Joe  Noir
One of Jack Higgins' very best books, and with the exception of "The Eagle Has Landed" my favorite. One of the best books about redemption ever written. An IRA hit man takes sanctuary in the church of the priest who witnessed his last hit. A sanction he was forced to undertake after a deadly mistake. Forced by the same subjects who are now out to kill the witness. Read this one.
Ashley Flynn
Dec 31, 2014 Ashley Flynn rated it liked it
Shelves: biscuits-books
Definitely not something I would have read if it weren't the book club selection, but it was a fast paced, easy read. People who like crime dramas will love it. I thought the priest character was interesting, but I didn't feel overly sympathetic to Fallon even though I know I was supposed to.
May 21, 2012 Midge rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Written in the 70's by an Irish-born writer and first published in Great Britain , this really is a classic story...and even though it is almost 40 years old, it still holds your attention and urges you to read on.
Vikas Khair
Jan 30, 2014 Vikas Khair rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned
Well its already classic with a movie already made long back so not little to say. It's the tale of a hitman who hates his existence for what he has done and how he looks for death. Nicely written and nice characters. I finished it rather quickly though it was short as well.
Peter Atkinson
Feb 10, 2013 Peter Atkinson rated it it was ok
Characters are stereotypes, story is good - bad against very bad against good. Reasonable beach read, no depth or development.
Randy Brush
May 18, 2014 Randy Brush rated it it was amazing
This is one of the best books I have ecer read, made into an even better movie. Mickey Rouke at his absolute best. Read it!
Mar 30, 2013 Louise rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I liked this one. A good old fashioned crime novel with a hard boiled hero with a 'eart of gold.
Ralph Estes
Mar 25, 2014 Ralph Estes rated it it was ok
IRA guy in England. Writing a C + at best
David Buchanan
Dec 04, 2012 David Buchanan rated it it was amazing
The movie was of my favorite movies.
Jan 09, 2013 Claire rated it really liked it
Recommended to me, really enjoyed this book. Easy read and good story. You see both sides to the character Fallon, he is not just a meanie!
Dec 13, 2014 Douglas rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
very good
dennis barron
Apr 03, 2015 dennis barron rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A prayer for the dying

Typical higgins. Great plot, excellent cast of characters,fast paced,,,a book you can't put down! I enjoyed it immensely!! Want a great read??? This is it!
Jan 20, 2017 Bob rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Can't go wrong with Jack Higgins' rapid paced stories.
Nov 18, 2014 Shennae rated it it was amazing
excellent thriller about a contract killer who seeks redemption for his soul .
Sep 08, 2012 Jennifer rated it really liked it
Shelves: mysteries
Higgins is a good writer but I prefer mysteries to spy thrillers.
Indah Threez Lestari
Mickey Rourke was sooo young...
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There is more than one author in the Goodreads database with this name.

Jack Higgins is the pseudonym of Harry Patterson (b. 1929), the New York Times bestselling author of more than seventy thrillers, including The Eagle Has Landed and The Wolf at the Door. His books have sold more than 250 million copies worldwide.

Born in Newcastle upon Tyne, England, Patterson grew up in Belfast, Northern Irelan
More about Jack Higgins...

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