Mickey and Mark Moore are hard men who live by their own code and leaders of a gang that has made millions at gunpoint. But when Dan "Spider" Shepherd is sent to infiltrate the tightly-knit team of bank robbers, he discovers that he has more in common with them then he first thought..As Shepherd and his Serious Organised Crime Agency colleagues plot the downfall of the Moore brothers, a more sinister threat stalks the streets of London. A group of home-grown Islamic fundamentalists embark on a campaign of terror the like of which Britain has never seen. Car bombs and beheadings are only the prelude. And Shepherd is the only man who can stop them.More
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More of the same, but oh how we love it!
True to form, Stephen Leather dishes up the old formula, and sure enough, it's still just as enjoyable. Leather is not a literary genius, but that doesn't matter here. The 'Spider' books are good fun, and an interesting reflection on some of the issues faced by the British government. This story, however, has a refreshing change of location, something I hope the author explores further in future Shepherd storoies, although the current formula of alternating between Britain and foreeign locations for the story backdrop, seems quite successful. I'd hate every story to be based abroad. These stories are great yarns, and should be treated as such, but don't be surprised if you find yourself mulling philosophically over one topic or another.
The dual plot structure that Stephen Leather has used in the past, works well to provide an unexpected climax, and you'll find your self becoming more and more tense as the book progresses. I'm particularly pleased that the author has not tried to play with the 'Spider' formula, and that you can settle down with a mug of your favourite hot or cold tipple and be thouraghly entertained!
Paul Thornly has done a good job of returning all character traits to the way they were in the first three books in the 'Spider' series. There were two previous readers for ISIS publishing, but on the whole they have all kept the characters consistantly the same from book to book, with one or two annoying differences.The first reader in the series, Martyn Read, suddenly, out of the blue, changed the voice of Major Gannon in the fourth book. He went from someone sounding like a well to do Major in the three previous books, to a more relaxed laid back sole in the fourth. Now, don't get me wrong, either way works, but only if you stick to the personality you choose, the whole way through the series. Paul Thornly has done that. Martin Read, in my opinion, apart from the dreadful voice character change, was the better reader. Having said that, I'm very happy with Paul Thornly, and certainly wouldn't want to see him changed. He has altered 'Spider' from a middle class private school educated sounding accent, to a home counties state educated voice, but I've dealt with that, and wouldn't want it changed yet again. Paul isn't my favourite reader in the world, but he's above average, and is good with accents and dialects. Cornelius Garrett was bought in to read the fifth book in the series, and although he was great at the Northern Irish accent, he gave the same voice personality to virtually all his Northern Irish characters, male of female. The lead suspect, who was a female, sounded more male than the seductive femaile she was supposed to be.
Anyway, all in all, leave Paul Thornley where he is, as he's doing a great job!
Spider Shepherd is not a tear jerker kind of character really, so as far as heart wrenching emotions go, you find find them here. Hard choices are the name of the game for this series, and that has not changed. Now if tension is what floats your boat, then there's plenty of that here.
A personal plea to Stephen Leather, please don't stop writing about Spider, even if you have to move him through some career changes in the process. There is a winning formula here, and we look forward to each episode.