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Leather, Stephen - 'Dead Men'
Hardback: 378 pages (Jan. 2008) Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton Ltd ISBN: 0340921706

This latest book, (his nineteenth) by Stephen Leather was a real scorcher, it seemed I just couldn't put in down until all the pages were turned and it was finally finished.

It had an elaborate, modern but very believable, multi-layered plot. The main strand was regarding the provisions of the Good Friday Agreement for Northern Ireland which meant that dangerous gunmen who were responsible for killing many soldiers and civilians were being released from prison after very short periods, under the special arrangement. Someone was not happy with this and was killing them by shooting them through the kneecaps and the back of the head, IRA style.

Leather's hero figure, Dan (Spider) Shepherd was sent in under-cover to Belfast to investigate this and to get friendly with the widow of a man who was in the RUC but who was murdered by the IRA. Dan's people suspect that this widow, in revenge, may be responsible for slowly murdering the IRA hit squad as they are released from prison. By the time Dan starts his mission, four of them have already been killed.

Additionally, there is a secondary strand to the plot where there are Muslim killers after Dan and his boss, who have been sent in by an Arab, whose sons had been interrogated and killed in the past.

DEAD MEN was a very exciting read and I can now fully appreciate the claim that Stephen Leather is the single most requested author by inmates of HM Prisons who want to borrow books from the library trolley in order to better pass their time to be served!!

Terry Halligan, England
February 2008

last updated 24/02/2008 09:52