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Leather, Stephen - 'White Lies'
Paperback: 400 pages (Feb. 2015) Publisher: Hodder Paperbacks ISBN: 1444736612

Dan 'Spider' Shepherd is used to putting his life on the line - for his friends and for his job with MI5. So when one of his former apprentices is kidnapped in the badlands of Pakistan, Shepherd doesn't hesitate to join a rescue mission. But when the plan goes horribly wrong, Shepherd ends up in the hands of al-Qaeda terrorists. His SAS training is of little help as his captors beat and torture him. Shepherd's MI5 controller Charlotte Button is determined to get her man out of harm's way, but to do that she's going to have to break all the rules. Her only hope is to bring in America's finest - the elite SEALs who carried out Operation Neptune Spear - in a do-or-die operation to rescue the captives.

This is the eleventh Dan "Spider" Shepherd thriller written by Stephen Leather and was absolutely superb, the best plotted and most thrilling story that I have ever read by him and must be amongst the top five action books that I have read in 2014.

This mult-layered plot alternates between the very bloody torture sequences of Shepherd and the difficulties Charlotte has in getting the American SEALs involved in going in to rescue Spider. She also brings a British special agent in from Thailand secretly to the UK to try to establish exactly where Spider is being held and to do this he has to attempt some very unorthodox methods. I was on tenter-hooks until the very last page of this very gripping story.

Stephen Leather is from a journalistic background and meticulously researches the background to all his books and it is very reassuring, reading facts and background details to his stories and knowing that they must be authentic because he has such a good reputation. I thought that this was a real belter of a story and easily the best that he has ever written. His keen journalistic attention to detail kept me gripped to the edge of my seat right up to the last page. As this is the eleventh book in the series, for regular readers part of the charm and enjoyment comes from catching up on the development of the regular characters in a similar way one does to a TV series, but Leather is aware that a reader may buy his book on impulse and the story is fully explained for such occasional readers also. I found the book extremely enjoyable and would certainly recommend it.

Terry Halligan, England
February 2015

Details of the author's other books with links to reviews can be found on the Books page.
More European crime fiction reviews can be found on the Reviews page.

last updated 5/02/2015 19:30