The sharper edge to traveling in Asia

WoWasis book review: Stephen Leather’s ‘Live Fire’

Written By: herbrunbridge - Jan• 30•13

LeatherLiveFireIf you’re a Brit and love adventure fiction, you’ve probably read Stephen Leather. If you’re a Yank, you probably haven’t. Fact is, Leather sells tons of books in the UK. He’s written more than thirty novels, sold nearly three million books in all, and did get some U.S. traction with his eBook The Basement, which rose to the top of the charts. As his thriller Live Fire (2009, ISBN 978-0-340-92175-3) proves, the fact that he’s not a household name in the U.S. isn’t because he can’t write. It’s a terrific book.

It’s another in his series of books with agent Dan Shepherd as the protagonist. The action takes place in Pattaya, Thailand, Cambodia, the UK, and Holland, and involves two plots, one involving a Thailand-based group of British bank robbers, the other a Muslim conspiracy to commit a major terrorist act. These plots finally connect toward the end of this 470 page book.

If you’re a Yank, like those of us here at WoWasis, it takes a few pages to get used to the British jargon. But if you’re a Yank expat living in, or a traveler visiting Thailand, you’re used to it: it’s spoken by your British friends. Dan Shepherd is an interesting and somewhat complex character. He has neither close romantic involvements with women nor a good relationship with his teen-age son. The kind of work he does doesn’t permit either.

Leather works up some fairly good character portrayals in Live Fire. The international arms dealers are right out of Soldier of Fortune magazine. Many of us have been exposed to Russian mafia types like Sergei. One of the bank robbers is gay, but not ostracized by his heterosexual mates for being so. And in a surprising twist at the end of the book, one of the robbers shows an uncharacteristic bit of humanity. One suspects that Mickey Moore will eventually appear in a future Leather novel. We’d like to see him again.

The book flows so well that 470 pages passes quite quickly, with lots of action, good dialogue, and a plot that moves with a good deal of momentum. It’s a good book for an international air flight, reading fast enough that you may finish it before landing. Good characters, a compelling plot, and great dialogue represent an entertainment value better than most movie choices on planes these days. Highly recommended for those who like international intrigue and adventure. Buy it here at the WoWasis eStore.

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.