Book Review – First Response

by Stephen Leather (Hodder & Stoughton) ISBN: 9781473604599

I haven’t read Stephen Leather before, but I expected more from an author labelled “the Sunday Times bestselling author”.

This so-called thriller got off to a slow start and failed to pick up the pace. At all. It wasn’t helped by the plethora of characters – I lost count after 30 – none of which I got to know intimately or care about, nor the long winded explanations and descriptions of the British police, army and intelligence services (I concede there may have been more services involved, but I got tired trying to remember them all).  The constant jumping between the at least 11 sites involved in the story left me confused and I had to keep paging backwards to remember which characters were at what site and what was happening there.

The use of ISIS as the terrorist threat in this book and references to the 2005 London bombings failed to lend the plot an air of believability. If anything, it had the opposite effect.

I read fiction for enjoyment, not as a means of testing my concentration and recall skills. This was a tiresome, heavy read.

Liesl Williams