Top critical review
4 people found this helpful
on 4 August 2013
I have mixed feelings about this one. Certainly not up to the standard of 'Fair Game,' the best of all the Shepherd books, but better than the pretty awful 'False Friends.'
Spider Shepherd has still yet to shake off the irritating 'touchy feely' attitudes and I have to say I am beginning to wonder if it will ever happen now.
Therefore the introduction of the Lex Harper character offered some hope for the future because, for me, Shepherd has reached his use by date.
As to the story the two line thread would have worked a lot better if there had been a 'coming together' in some way at the end. As it is we are left with a rather unpleasant Russian walking off into the sunset unscathed and an equally unpleasant Afghan terrorist, getting away with murder because, as we are advised in the early part of the tale, the Khan character spent a long time in the Taliban killing Brits and Yanks and anybody else that took his fancy. Only when the Taliban beat his daughter did he decide to indulge himself in decadent western culture, interestingly, and very realistically at the expense of the British taxpayer!
When the circumstances of Khan's change of side are revealed we are all apparently expected to feel a pang of guilt at his 'almost' elimination. Shepherd's 'white hat' is almost dazzling in intensity by the time this point is reached, because he has spent much of the latter part of the tale in bouts of hand ringing as Khan's elimination is planned.
The negatives :-
Slow. The speed of the 'Fair Game' tale is very obviously lacking here.
A two line plot that fails to provide a satisfying end.
Technical mistake P188. It's an A340 built by Airbus or something else by Boeing, it can't be both.
Shepherds irritating determination to provide every excuse for the preservation of people most agree the world could do without.
Little of the irrelevant private life. The boy is growing and almost gone, which just leaves the au pair, who must be pushing 40 by now. Just why someone like Shepherd needs one is questionable, her appearance is thankfully brief.
Better than 'False Friends'
Mr Leather does have a great skill at weaving topical issues into his stories making much of those stories very believable, with addition of more pace a very good tale would result. [As an aside I rather think Spider has become a reader of The Guardian rather than the Mail!]
Will I be back? yes of course, the early books still have great resonance with me and the introduction of Harper sustains interest
Would I recommend 'True Colours' yes with reservations, a good enough tale, I finished it in three days, but I was speed reading at times and that is never a good sign.
I have decided on three stars largely because I have some idea of the effort involved in producing a tale like this. So I will be back, but I am rather hoping Shepherd will not.