Book: Cold Kill

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Cold Kill: A Dan Shepherd Mystery

Author: Stephen Leather
Publisher: Hodder Headline

A trawler in the North Sea is in trouble. Its cargo: hundreds of illegal immigrants. Dan Shepherd is sent to lead the rescue operation, and then to investigate the tragedy. What he finds is a counterfeit currency ring and a huge people-trafficking network. But the web reaches wider still, and as his investigation deepens, he discovers that the criminal proceeds are destined to finance the greatest terrorist attack of all.

Former SAS trooper Dan Shepherd, now a detective in an elite undercover squad, is at the center of these hard-hitting, high-action thrillers from Stephen Leather. Scalpel-sharp suspense and as gritty as the genre gets.


Do you like your thrillers to increase your pulse rate…. but only slightly? And do you like your thrillers to leave you with a feeling that (in the end) everything is right with the world? Then avoid Stephen Leather—and such books of his as Cold Kill. Leather is not a writer who is particularly interested in soothing the reader—but for those of us who like to tackle thrillers that seem to be genuinely engaged with the modern world, he is essential reading.

Reflecting the fact that crime is now a global industry, with major criminals hopping easily from continent to continent, this latest outing for Leather’s resourceful undercover operative Dan `Spider’ Shepherd catapults him into a new role. Asylum seekers have been bringing fake euros into the UK in a scam organised by the Albanian Mafia, while Bangladeshi moneychangers handle the London logistics. At the same time, terrorist organisations are busily recruiting men and women who are able to move easily between Western countries without drawing any attention to themselves. And these new recruits are, of course, being handed lethal assignments that it’s up to people like Dan to stop. Going undercover, he makes contact with a major Albanian criminal in France, and discovers that (for the right money) British passports are easily obtainable. Soon, Dan is on the trail of a suspected terrorist, and many lives will be at stake unless he can bring a major international conspiracy to a halt.

Stephen Leather has long had the measure of fast moving thrillers such as this, and everything (including the pulse-pounding climax aboard a Eurostar train) is orchestrated with maximum finesse. —Barry Forshaw

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