Fair Game, By Stephen Leather


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A self-published bestseller apart from his mainstream hits, Leather now seeks to rival masters such as Gerald Seymour in the topical-thriller market.

This breakneck gallop behind the headlines centres on the seaborne depredations of a Somali pirate gang, and sets up a grudge match between Leather's undercover enforcer Spider Shepherd and the crime boss "Crazy Boy" - from exotic Ealing. Factor in an inevitable global-terror connection, mayhem plotted by conspirators old and new, and a Clancy intrigue takes on board Spooks-style melodrama.

For all the rattling action and plot twists, clunky paranoid politics and nastily caricatured Somalis mean that the likes of Seymour or Lee Child – subtler and smarter by far - have little to fear.