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4.6 out of 5 stars
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4.6 out of 5 stars
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on 29 May 2013
I do like Stephen Leathers style of writing, and the Dan Shepherd books are some of my favourite Stephen Leathers books. I like to go on a journey with my characters, visiting new and old friends and catching up with "Spiders" life. Once again our hero rides to the rescue. Now working for MI5 he is tasked with bringing down a group of Somali Pirates who have links with a terrorist plot to be carried out on the mainland UK.

Fair Game is in the usual roller coaster ride tracking "Spider" from his current mission to his new one. Anyone who enjoys Stephen Leathers books will enjoy "Fair Game"
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on 30 July 2011
I haven't read any of the previous books in the series - and now wish I had done first. Don't get me wrong, FAIR GAME was a really great read on its own, I just feel that I've missed out by not reading them in order and now know some of what happened in the previous books. After a brief episode in Ireland exposing the professional skills of the cool calm and collected MI5 agent Shepherd, the book focuses on the topical issue of Somalian pirates. They stupidly kidnap a friend of `Spider' and he goes on a quest to destroy the gang from the inside and uncovers deeper political connections and a terrorist plot. Whilst exploring subject matter that is very much in the news this novel also addresses the fact that the law enforcement agencies have one hand tied behind their backs as they fight criminals that have more legal rights than they do. Well written, high-paced and engaging. I'm now officially a Stephen Leather fan!
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on 20 August 2011
I have read all of Stephen Leather's books and the initial ones were brilliant (as were the first Dan Shepherd ones). The last was a disaster and about as believeable as flying pink elephants. OK you may say they don't need to have any sense of reality and reading is an escape from your surrounds - but I actually wonder why he is knocking out so many books in short time when the standard is dropping and dropping?

Does he really think that we believe that a woman who has hopped around between Government agencies could sanction/run an operation like the one described in this? Ms Button at one point could have some credibility (as a character) but his puppy like fawning and buying her cardboard cups of tea every time he sees her does test the imagination somewhat.

This tome at 500 + pages is around 200 pages too many. Way too much padding and then it's all over and done within the last 100 pages max.

I just wish that he would go back to writing good stories with a start, a middle and a credible end which satisfied and didn't leave me thinking 'why did I buy yet another one of his books?'

One day Stephen I won't buy any more.
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on 9 July 2012
The 8th Dan 'Spider Shepherd' thriller sets the bar for willing suspension of disbelief very high. We have Al Queda, pirates, IRA, hostages, ghosts, revenge and the not inconsiderbale mentions of rucksacks and bricks.
Dan and handler Charlie have moved on from SOCA and are in MI5 but the format is otherwise the same as the rest. Dan goes undercover, hunts baddies and does ok.

In this instalment he get lots of baddies, more than ever and the violence and general superman status of Dan reaches new heights. For the most part I loved it and powered through the read in just a few days. Leather is accomplished at setting a fast pace and adding considerable action styled flesh to the bones of a plot.

Dan is as likeable and roguish as ever, Charlie is sexy in that school mstress way and Liam and Katra are what they have been for the last few books. Bit part players to make sure we remember Dan is a good guy. There is a lot of well researched detail and action is well delivered and has a hint more gore than usual. I really liked it and felt it was another solid addition to the series.

The failings come in that there is a lot of repetition - If we hear about why he uses the rucksack and boots when running one more time then it will be 100 to many. Likewise Leather needs to seriously re-think the Liam Katra element as they have no real value and the additional IRA element of this story was overkill and would have played out better as a stand alone novel. Especially given the revenge versus good guy versus bad guy line drawing that plays out in this book. In addition you have to ask is Shepherd the only man allowed to fire a gun in the UK? He doesn't have to be the absolute hero in every situation... he could share it around!

There is a lot of detail and while it isn't excessive it could have been trimmed down or at least made to feel a little less like a lesson on 'How to..' The Shepherd books are good entertainment, well written a fit the action thriller genere very well. No they aren't going to win literary prizes but they are fun. There are some that seem to have an excessively personal opinion on the writer and have allowed that restrict objectivity, equally I won't defend the author's occassional misguided comebacks not every bad review is born of trolling malice and those that are, are very obvious by comparison to genuine ones.

I figure there are two good Shepheard stories to go - I for one am looking forward to them and seing where Spider will end up at the end of it.
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on 4 December 2016
The authors 8th book to feature "Spider" Shepherd and his 24th thriller overall features an urgent hunt to locate a kidnap victim. The victim, a young god-daughter of the British Prime Minister was plucked, with her colleagues from an very expensive yacht in the Ocean off the coast of Africa by desperate and very violent Somali pirates. These pirates are informed about their targets by relations living in the UK and are kept up to date by all the latest digital technology. The main relation and leader in the UK, a real nasty piece of work called "Crazy Boy", who launders his ill gotten gains through a network of property purchases and he has contacts with other Somalis all over the place and links with other Muslim organisations such as Al-Qaeda.

Dan "Spider" Shepherd, a former SAS operative is now an undercover agent with MI5, his former SOCA (Serious Organised Crime Agency) boss, Charlotte Button he still reports to and he still lives in Hereford, near the SAS HQ, with his son Liam and an Lithuanian au-pair named Katra.

This very tightly plotted hunt for the pirates has "Spider" going deep undercover on a huge container ship in the expectation that it will be similarly hijacked. But this multi layered story does not simply rely on one plot to keep the reader enthralled right the way through it's 544 aggressively topical pages, no, no no there are two other sub plots that keep the attention focussed on the main story line. There is a contract out on Spiders life from the "Real IRA" and there is Al-Qaeda interest also.

I thought this was a cracking good thriller, the best that I have ever read by Stephen Leather and his journalistic keen attention to detail kept me gripped on to the edge of my seat right up to the last page. Since he has started writing two books a year I was sure the quality would fall off, but this book kept me guessing (wrongly!) right up to the last page. As this is the 8th book in a series for regular readers, part of the enjoyment comes from catching up on the escapades 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 readable and would certainly recommend it.
Complimentary copy provided by netgalley.com for honest review
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on 13 September 2013
Still keeping me interested and will continue to do so. I am looking forward to the next instalment.Must try one of Stephen's other characters.
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on 29 August 2013
I think my headline says it all really, but don't let it put you off, it is a very good read but you have to suspend your disbelief. As I have said before, there is a lot of repetition in a Spider Shepherd novel involving his bloody brick filled rucksack, boots and his sporadic family life which starts to grind eventually and although I have just bought "False Friends" book 9 in the series , I am going back and reading "Hard Landing" first, to try and recapture the initial writing style as from memory I don't remember him jogging in that novel.
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on 5 June 2014
I have only very recently discovered the Spider Shepherd books, and boy, have I made up for lost time! I have read all ten in the series, plus the short stories and have pre-ordered number 11. These are well written thrillers and rattle along at a great pace. If you like action and a decent hero I thoroughly recommend the Spider Shepherd thrillers.
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on 13 January 2014
Many twists and turns to this story with exciting conclusion.
Jumps from Ireland, to homelife problems, onward to terrotist activities with our hero rushing around the world, sorting out pirates in Somalia, and a host of ne-er-do-wells; all of which help to keep the pace and interest going to the last page!
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on 15 December 2013
Stephen Leather is an outstanding author. His Spider shepherd series is simply brilliant, insightful and addictive. Whilst some of his other material appears to be based around the Spider Shepherd character - they are all still as addictive and interesting. Highly recommend any books by this author.
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