Undercover cop Dan “Spider” Shepherd thinks he’s found a pretty decent case when he stumbles upon a ring of Continental currency-smugglers. By the end of this thriller, though, he’ll have much bigger fish to fry.
While investigating a crew of people-traffickers, London detective and ex-SAS man Dan Shepherd discovers a cross-Channel currency-smuggling operation. Posing as low-level criminal Anthony Corke, Shepherd infiltrates the gang, befriending its London soldiers and establishing contact with the shady Albanian gangster who masterminds the business from his swank Paris flat. As Shepherd soon discovers, currency-smuggling isn’t the only business these guys dabble in. With the help of a government contact, they’ve been churning out fake British passports, a scam that eventually finds Shepherd surrounded by Semtex and racing to foil a terrorist plot. All the while, bureaucratic complications are brewing as Shepherd and his old boss hop to new agencies, forcing them to make nice with a few fresh faces. And then, of course, there’s that sketchy Saudi millionaire who’s been seen stalking the globe lately, hanging out with all sorts of undesirables. There are a lot of loose strands floating about, but by and large, Leather (Soft Target, 2005, etc.) manages to braid them together with aplomb. Even Shepherd’s overly familiar family dramas (has fiction ever known a happily married undercover cop?) are only minimally distracting, and while his ever-pensive policeman schtick is, perhaps, a touch stale, many of the novel’s secondary characters are nicely drawn. The story builds to a boil as Shepherd, piecing together the terrorists’ plans as he goes, lands aboard a Paris-bound Eurostar train with four suicide bombers as his fellow passengers. It’s a grand finale that’ll have readers on edge.
Nicely, and seemingly effortlessly, done.