by Lang Reid
Leather has obviously been hard at work and his latest Dan (Spider) Shepherd
thriller is now in the Big C Extra Bookazine shelves (and all the other
Bookazines I am sure.) This is the ninth thriller featuring Spider Shepherd
and has just been released (ISBN -0-340-92500-3, Hodder and Stoughton,
Leather is well known in many Thai circles, spending much time here each
year, most probably studying the local crimes, giving his books the
necessary realism. And realism is Leather’s forte, heightened by mixing fact
Leather can not only impart realism to situations and places, but he gives
the readers excellent insights into the characters in the book. His boss
“Charlie” I could swear I had met, and the agonizing mental anguish on
falling in love with the woman of your dreams is something we have all
False Friends begins in an American helicopter on a surprise raid upon the
compound of Osama Bin Laden in Pakistan. The hero, Spider Shepherd, is on
board as a UK observer, and the details of the attack are just so exact in
their minutiae, you begin to question your own memory of the event - was
there a UK observer as well as the American Navy Seals? Then around half way
through the book, Leather introduces right wing extremist Anders Breivik.
Fact - yes Fiction - no Faction - somewhere in between?
The main plot surrounds two Islamic fundamentalist young men, who have had
no training in espionage, but because of their backgrounds have been
selected to become spies by the MI5. It is Shepherd’s job to protect and
Fans of the Spider Shepherd series will be pleased to welcome back one of
Shepherd’s laconic mates, “Razor” Sharpe. An example of Leather’s approach
to writing is the fact that you “know” all his characters. A real author.
Leather is not beyond some social commentary in this book. One of the two
young fundamentalists telling Shepherd, “And whoever thought that Guantanamo
Bay was a good idea should be taken out and shot. It produced a whole
generation of Muslims who really do believe that America is evil.” And an
Army Major discussing the American military incidence of friendly fire by
commenting that, “Friendly fire ranks right up there with military
intelligence in the tautology hit parade, doesn’t it?”
Politicians and bankers get their fair share of flak, as does Tony Blair and
George Dubbya. It is almost as if you are in a pub with Spider Shepherd and
discussing the rights and wrongs in this world with the usual bar room
The pace increases Hell for Leather (sorry, I couldn’t help myself there)
and I was unable to stop reading, snarling at any interruptions. The
description of a murder by suffocation has you spell-bound. Be warned: this
book is not for the squeamish.
A thriller in every way, you won’t get many more thrills than False Friends.
Worth every baht of the 688 RRP. And the book is printed on large pages and
using a large font to make it easier for those over 40!
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