Spider Shepherd #01: Hard Landing

Spider Shepherd #01: Hard Landing
Stephen Leather
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Dan `Spider' Shepherd is used to putting his life on the line. As a detective working for an elite undercover squad he has lied, cheated and conned in order to bring, Britain's most wanted criminals to justice. But when a powerful drugs baron starts to kill off witnesses to his crimes, Shepherd is given his most dangerous assignment yet. He has to go undercover in a top security prison, a world where one wrong move will mean certain death. Corrupt prison officers, lifers with nothing to lose, and hard men with something to prove are all gunning for Shepherd. The only way for him to survive is to play his role to perfection, twenty-four hours a day, among criminals for whom violence is a way of life. But as Shepherd gambles everything to move in on his quarry, he'soon discovers that the man he is hunting is even more dangerous than the police realise. And that he is capable of striking outside the prison walls and hitting Shepherd where it hurts most.
Dan 'Spider' Shepherd, undercover detective and all-round hardpan, faces his toughest assignment yet as he infiltrates a top security prison, endangering not just himself but his family as well. The author has clearly enjoyed himself cranking up the moral ambivalence of the prison officers, making the lifers with nothing to lose even more hard-edged than is strictly necessary, and ensuring that the brutalising and dehumanising prison environment resembles a factory for manufacturing evil. Not perhaps the most original of plots, but prison life is as topical as ever and prison drama plays well, whether on the small screen or the printed page. Plus the author has form, so to speak, having written not just highly successful novels but also episodes of London's Burning and The Knock.
Stephen Leather was a journalist for more than ten years on newspapers such as The Times, the Daily Mail and the South China Morning Post in Hong Kong. He began writing full-time in 1992 and has also written for television shows such as London's Burning, The Knock and the BBC's Murder in Mind series.