Stephen Leather is one of the UK's most successful thriller writers, an eBook and Sunday Times bestseller and author of the critically acclaimed Dan "Spider' Shepherd series and the Jack Nightingale supernatural detective novels.
Before becoming a novelist he was a journalist for more than ten years on newspapers such as The Times, the Daily Mirror, the Glasgow Herald, the Daily Mail and the South China Morning Post in Hong Kong. He is one of the country's most successful eBook authors and his eBooks have topped the Amazon Kindle charts in the UK and the US. In 2011 alone he sold more than 500,000 eBooks and was voted by The Bookseller magazine as one of the 100 most influential people in the UK publishing world.
Born in Manchester, he began writing full time in 1992. His bestsellers have been translated into fifteen languages. He has also written for television shows such as London's Burning, The Knock and the BBC's Murder in Mind series and two of his books, The Stretch and The Bombmaker, were filmed for TV. You can find out more from his website www.stephenleather.com and you can follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/stephenleather
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By rights, THE VETS should be a 5-star read. I'm taking this opportunity for self-appraisal to try and understand why, for me, it's not. It's a couple of years before Hong Kong is to revert to Red China. Chinese expatriate Anthony Chung meets in Paris with ex-U.S. Army Special Forces Colonel Joel Tyler to set in motion plans for the Heist of the Century in Britain's last jewel in the crown. To that end, Tyler implements an elaborate scheme to recruit other U.S. Army vets of the Vietnam war for the venture. He ultimately attracts ex-Huey pilot Dan Lehmen, a phony investments scammer on the run from the Mob, ex-Tunnel Rat Eric Horvitz, a border-line sociopath living alone in the Canadian woods, ex-Huey door gunner Larry Carmody, who left Nam with a chip on his shoulder and minus one forearm, and ex-Huey crew chief Barton Lewis, a lonely divorcé recently diagnosed with terminal stomach cancer. Then there's ex-Air America, i.e. CIA, chopper pilot Chuck Doherty, who fled a murderous Special Forces operation in Laos, only to stash his Huey in the Thai jungle and live as a Buddhist monk these last twenty-two years. This thriller is intricately constructed with more than the usual amount of character development. There's even a plot twist, although the reader is let into the secret 120 pages before the book's conclusion and it's left only to see how Dan, Eric, Larry, Bart, and Chuck fare before the dust settles. THE VETS is actually a hard book to put down, but I was left with a niggling dissatisfaction. I think it's because there wasn't anybody serving as a protagonist whom I could cheer on from the sidelines, though Lewis perhaps comes the closest. The ultimate beneficiary of the plot is only introduced seven pages before the last, and my reaction was "Why should I care?Read more ›
An early 1993 novel from Leather evidently based on his stint in HK with SCMP. The novel does pick up well on the pre-handover anxiety that happened where the locals sought to get other citizenship, expats relocated, and the British/ Chinese politics hit fever point. The adventure plot itself is good, with a serious heist in HK, a large British bank with sterotyped British Chief Exec on the Peak, flambouyant gweilo wife and socialite daughter. Leather adds a dirty dozen/ magnificent seven recruitment plot where Col. Tyler enlists and forms a team of Viet war veterans. This is all good fodder, though the whole novel at 560 pages was far too long to hold the story as tight as it could be, a point in fact is that the team don't even get to Hong Kong till page 240. I'm glad Leather did improve and I certainly enjoyed the Bombmaker and Spider stories.
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This book is definatley another brilliant book by Leather. I read the whole book from cover to cover in no time at all. It was however rather detrimental to my study for my exams, and I think that everyone who reads this book would agree that it is one of the best books they have read in quite some time! The plot for this book is based on a group of American Vietnam war veterans, who are invited by a government agency to visit Vietnam now that the war is over. As the plot unfolds, the vet's find themselves deeper and deeper in a strange plot, and it will take all of their skills to allow them to sucessfully do their mission. For anyone who is has read any of his other books and enjojed it, read this one, it is in my humble opinion one of his best. I would also recommend this book to anyone else too, but is is a rather long book (564 pages), so I would suggest that you don't start reading it if you need to do something else, it will keep you reading!
I have read just about all of Stephen Leather's books over the last few years and although I liked every one of them THE VETS is by far my favourite. I loved the characters and the action and found it compelling reading.The story line is very good and finds 5 ex-military men brought together for one last mission. They are all different in character and temperament and all have their own reasons for wanting to take part.This book should be a must read for everyone. Two other of his books I found very good are THE CHINAMAN and THE BOMBMAKER.
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