Leather, Stephen - 'True Colours'
This is the tenth Dan "Spider" Shepherd thriller written by Stephen Leather and he has lost none of his writing skills for this was the best plot that I've read yet from him.
A few Russian Oligarchs are assassinated, which makes the Russian expat community rather nervous and one billionaire appeals to the Prime Minister for protection and Spider, who now works for MI5, is allocated the job of supervising it. An undercover alias is created for Spider as a senior policeman but he starts to realise that the killings are not political but maybe personal. As part of the Russians entourage he is obliged to travel abroad with him.
Whilst all of this is going on, Dan, in this multi-layered story, is approached by someone from his past in the SAS who shows him a photo of a London Street. In the background is an individual who was a Taliban sniper in Afghanistan in 2002, who put a bullet in Dan's shoulder and killed his officer. Dan is very upset by this and is in no mood to forgive and forget and starts to use his MI5 and police contacts to get more intelligence and also to identify more of his former SAS colleagues from 2002 who will be interested in avenging the death of their officer.
The multi-layered plot alternated between the Russian story, Afghanistan 2002 and the present day until it all came together in the surprising but dramatic conclusion. All in all, though this is quite a long book, he writes a very fast action packed thriller which has a rapidly changing plot and you don't want to put it down until it is finished. I thought this was a cracking good thriller. His journalistic keen attention to detail, kept me gripped to the edge of my seat right up to the last page. As this is the tenth book in a series, for regular readers, part of the enjoyment comes from catching up on the development 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 readers also. I found the book extremely readable and would certainly recommend it.
Terry Halligan, England