cover image Fair Game

Fair Game

Stephen Leather. Hodder & Stoughton (IPG, dist.), $29.95 (512p) ISBN 978-0-340-92496-9

When intelligence agencies get their wires crossed in Leather’s middling eighth action thriller featuring superhuman British spook Spider Shepherd (after 2010’s Rough Justice), Shepherd is forced to blow his cover inside a radical Irish terrorist cell to save another agent’s life. But the shadowy operative, who’s troubled by the limited time his job allows him with his teenage son, doesn’t have much time to brood. Concerns that an insider may be feeding information to Somali pirates linked to terrorists lead to an undercover assignment inside a British shipping company. When pirates in the Persian Gulf seize Katie Cranham, a goddaughter of the British prime minister, and hold her for ransom, Shepherd finds himself playing a key role in a daredevil rescue mission. Predictable twists, a psychologically thin lead, and a plot in which only bad guys die make for a disappointing read. (Jan.)