Fast Track (Dan Shepherd #18) By Stephen Leather

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Another great thriller from the master.
It's great to see how Spider has evolved over the years.
But every now and again, underneath all the rules and by the book orders Spider sometimes shows a little ruthlessness and surprises us all.
Lots of detail
contemporary thriller
Leather delivers again. Fast Track (Dan Shepherd #18) A scheme to fast track undergraduates into the security services comes into question when an MI6 operative is seen walking away from the scene of a bombing and promptly disappears.

I didn't find this as fast paced or as gripping as some of the previous novels in the series but the insight it gave into the tracking capabilities of the security services was interesting as was the multi-agency aspect, with different branches of the security/intelligence services working together, not always with the same agenda.

An interesting read rather than a page turner.

My thanks to the publisher for sending me a review copy, I was under no obligation and all opinions expressed are my own. Fast Track (Dan Shepherd #18) gripping

Stephen Leather has not failed to hook me in & drawn me in to the world of Dan “Spider” Shephard.
I was hooked from start to finish & I am already itching to start his new book.

For me, Stephen Leather is the finest fiction writer around. Fast Track (Dan Shepherd #18) “Fast Track” by Stephen Leather (2021) First Edition


Overall Rating 6/10 – Slow Track


Plot
A bomb goes off in Trafalgar square killing many people but, this wasn’t an ordinary jihadist bomb plot, this had all the hallmarking’s of an inside job (MI6). Enter our protagonist who has the task of sorting out that problem. A problem entangled with webs of lies and deceit and a problem that will take him oversees with his old comrades from the SAS.


Writing Style
Most of the time I was surprised I was reading the style of writing that my eyes were seeing. It seemed different to the typical Leather style – lacked detail and felt like some detail had just been added for the sake of it. Some of the writing was clumsy and it mostly felt like it had been written by a 6th former. Odd really.


Point of View
Written in the 3rd Person / Past Tense (standard convention)


Critique
Unfortunately. This instalment didn’t come up to the same high standard that his previous books reached. He was clumsy in places and mostly staid throughout. There was no “Fizz, Bang, Whizz or Clang” just a story that unfolded. Sadly, the lack of “WOWzer” moments was a surprise, but not a good one. It felt like the zing had left his writing and felt more like it had been created because he had been told to sit in his bedroom and write an essay.

On the positive side, it was quintessentially Spider Shepherd and I was able to fight past the tedium to enjoy the novel. Once I had started, there was no way I was going to stop reading it.
Fast Track (Dan Shepherd #18) Realized yesterday that there were two newer Dan Shepherd books I hadn't yet read... so read one today. This is classic Leather. I've enjoyed this series more than, say, that absurd Grey Man series where a dozen deus ex machina twists pop into the story to save him from certain death.
This episode posits another terrorism in the UK event, as over the top as ever. No problem. Leather always does a neat, if somewhat improbably, twist at the end.
This book was written during the covid. I noticed that it was always said as, the covid, which may be a British way of saying it, in opposition to going to hospital, or graduate college, where the article is left off (contrary to US practice).
He had one of his characters do a cute spin on a common Brit saying, Bob's your uncle, replacing it with, Robert's your father's brother. Ha! Fast Track (Dan Shepherd #18)

Fast

Who can you trust if you can't trust the people tasked with protecting the nation?

Murderous jihadists have been crossing the English Channel, passing themselves off as asylum seekers. MI5 have been keeping them under surveillance, but what starts as a simple terrorist takedown goes badly wrong and dozens of innocent civilians are killed in the heart of London.

And the screw is tightened when a bomb takes out senior members of the Secret Intelligence Service.

Someone within the security services has been working to their own agenda, and only Dan 'Spider' Shepherd can identify the bad apple. His search for the rogue agent takes him to Turkey and then to Dubai, where his masters order him to carry out a breathtaking act of revenge. Fast Track (Dan Shepherd #18)

Very complex. Totally engaging from the beginning to the end. Kept me turning the pages. Read till late into the night and it was the first thing I reached for in the morning.

Had the right mix of espionage, firepower, blood and men in tights. Imagine Jack Reacher with a lil' mix of Janes Bond and friends they could call on like The Hangover gang with lots of firepower.

Two bombs are detonated in Trafalgar Square and what follows is a race halfway across the world to catch WHO DUN'IT. The narrative time is fast and furious, staccato-esque and the action frames move at great speed.

A total page-turner. Fast Track (Dan Shepherd #18) #fasttrack
#hodderandstoughton
#jonathanball

Dan ‘Spider’ (there are rumours of him swallowing a live tarantula during SAS training) Shepherd is enjoying his day off with his son, Liam, when he is yanked back to MI5 headquarters in London; an intelligence operation has backfired, leaving many dead on Trafalgar Square. Initially everything appeared to be under control; an MI6 agent had a mole on the inside, and it was thus child’s play to stop the intended terrorist attack by murderous jihadists who crossed the English Channel posing as asylum seekers, in its tracks. But mere minutes later it was clear that the intel was either incomplete or false; not only causing the deaths of almost 100 civilians, but effectively destroying the top management of MI6. ISIS claimed responsibility for Trafalgar Square, but who is behind the attack on MI6? And who can you trust if you cannot trust the people tasked with protecting the nation? Spider’s search for the truth will take him all over London, to Turkey and to a deadly confrontation in Dubai.

Shepherd is neither Child’s Reacher, nor Morrell’s Rambo. Although more than capable of defending himself, his real strengths are his eidetic memory; his ability to detect patterns and his eye for detail. He is thus not the traditional action hero; he is highly intelligent and has access to ‘the heavies’ when muscle or fire power is required. His choice of ‘heavies’ often provides amusement; in this novel one Jimmy Sharpe is called upon. He is an experienced law enforcement officer with a particular affinity for sandwiches and fancy cars; drives a Jaguar and is more concerned with the safety of his vehicle than with his own. He is also fond of unusual expressions; the traditional ‘Bob’s your uncle’ is exchanged for ‘Robert is your father’s brother’ in his speech. I also found the references to the British PM amusing and very familiar: his shoulders are flecked with dandruff, and he is known for flicking his blond fringe from his eyes. (p.92-93)

This novel is number 18 in the series, I have only read number 17 prior to this one and can thus honestly say that the novels can be equally enjoyed as standalones; it is not necessary to read the series in order. The series is recommended for readers enjoying fast-paced, intellectually stimulating plots with a military twist and deserves 4 stars. As was the case with the previous title (Slow Burn) I would have awarded 5 stars, but the absence of chapter breaks was slightly annoying.

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
#Uitdieperdsebek Fast Track (Dan Shepherd #18) My thoughts about Stephen Leather’s Fast Track,is a slick action-thriller that keeps you engrossed, enthralled and captivated all through thanks to its fascinating premise and a watertight, razor-sharp storyline. Fast Track is Stephen Leather’s best one yet. Author Stephen Leather offers an intelligent plot, with blows, blasts and raw bone-cracking action that blows you away. Fast Track is spectacular. I’m a huge fan of Stephen Leather work ever since I’ve read his books Slow Burn, The Hunting and The Foreigner, Fast Track is my fourth book and it won’t be my last. I’m thankful to authors Khurrum Rahman and Neil Lancaster for introducing me to Stephen Leather’s work. The story of Fast Track begins with a Murderous jihadists have been crossing the English Channel, passing themselves off as asylum seekers. MI5 have been keeping them under surveillance, but what starts as a simple terrorist takedown goes badly wrong and dozens of innocent civilians are killed in the heart of London.And the screw is tightened when a bomb takes out senior members of the Secret Intelligence Service.Someone within the security services has been working to their own agenda, and only Dan ‘Spider’ Shepherd can identify the bad apple. His search for the rogue agent takes him to Turkey and then to Dubai, where his masters order him to carry out a breathtaking act of revenge.Stephen Leather’s Fast Track is well written and well crafted action thriller that is highly recommend to all action thriller fans. For me Stephen Leather is king of action thriller’s,with Fast Track Stephen Leather delivers yet another blockbuster thriller.I would like to say thank you to Author Stephen Leather,and Steven Cooper from Hodder Books,for kindly sending me a gifted copy for me to read and review this spectacular action packed thriller. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥 Fast Track (Dan Shepherd #18) Another great read in the Spider Shepherd series.
Two bombs go off in Trafalgar Square killing hundred of people.
Another explosion goes off in the safe house shortly afterwards, killing the head of MI6.
Spider is brought in to try and find the people behind the attacks.
There’s discussions between MI5 and MI6 and with Dan’s help they start to get close to the people behind it.
Dan calls in favours with Sharpe and ends up working with him and the SAS to get the attackers.
This is an action packed story with a light sprinkling of humour as well. Fast Track (Dan Shepherd #18) Another complex and engaging thriller from the master.
A take down of a terrorist cell goes wrong and in the aftermath some senior intelligence figures are killed but it appears their suspect escaped and Spider Shepherd is brought in to track him down. The Intelligence services seem to be working together, along with the SAS and some off the books special operatives. The Government and Intelligence service is out for revenge, and Spider is the point man.
Lots of trade craft as we see how effective the security services can be and this is the perfect blend of investigation and action. There are some familiar faces that crop up here, no spoilers but it was great to see them and enjoy their company. As always the author has his characters voice a variety of views, reflecting that of the general population, it does flesh them out rather well.
You come to expect excellence from Stephen Leather and he never lets you down. He doesn’t just throw his characters into gunfights, his characters develop and evolve and the plotting of the books is always topical, intelligent and you will keep turning those pages long into the night. Fast Track (Dan Shepherd #18)