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


Writers Write offers the best writing courses in South Africa. Writers Write - Write to communicate.

Book Review - Black Ops

by Stephen Leather (Hodder & Stoughton) ISBN 978-1-444-73664-9

Black Ops gripped me from the first chapter as we are thrust into the exciting life of the main character, Spider and experience how he deals with revenge, betrayal and danger in an action packed sequence of events. Linking the plots in the book to real life events made it all the more real and made it easier for me to connect with the characters. 

Overall I found the book intriguing. I felt as though I was in the drama, following the action alongside Spider and Charlie. As the drama continued to unfold, and deception and revenge sprang from just about every character I found I could no longer put the book down. 

Reading Black Ops made me want to go back and read all the previous books in the series. All in all a great read that has me fascinated with action novels. 

Alicia Sibanda


Writers Write offers the best writing courses in South Africa. Writers Write - Write to communicate


by Stephen Leather (Hodder & Stoughton) ISBN: 9781444700718

What an interesting book. Jack Nightingale, a private detective, is a haunted man. Once upon a time he was a police negotiator who couldn't stop a nine-year-old girl named Sophie jumping to her death after she was abused by her father. Her mother knew about the abuse but did nothing. Now Jack thinks she's trying to contact him from beyond the grave. 

Jack tries to find the truth with his personal assistant, Jenny McLean. He has to battle his former boss, Detective Superintendent Chalmers, and the forces of evil. This is a well-researched paranormal thriller. Stephen Leather produces excellent pacing, brilliant, believable characters, solid plotting, and a great ending. Nightmare is the sequel toNightfall and Midnight, books one and two in a taut thrilling trilogy. 

Thank you, Stephen Leather, for sending me a copy! I wish I'd read it sooner. It would have been one of my top reads of 2012. 

Amanda Patterson

Writers Write offers the best writing courses in South Africa. Writers Write - Write to communicate.


by Stephen Leather (Hodder & Stoughton) ISBN 9 781444 700718


This is a haunting story in every way possible. Don’t stop your hands from clutching the book because terror reigns on every page.


A little girl called Sophie kissed her doll’s head as she slid from the balcony of the fourteenth floor building.  Jack Nightingale was too late to save her from falling although he was nearby.

Is everyone he meets going to call out “Jack Nightingale”? Even strangers on the street?  No wonder he tries to run away from his life.


The hellions of Death seek him out at every possible moment. And he seeks, through supernatural means, to find out what is going on. His secretary, Jenny believes in him and his innocence, but that’s not enough to help him. He has to find the little girl Sophie who lost all her family and then decided to take her own life.


This is a different kind of thriller, much like a ride on a roller coaster. If it is possible to research satanic worship and other supernatural things, then Stephen Leather has really done his homework. 


The end is mind blowing and challenges all your beliefs about death. Whew, it is a really good read.


Dee Andrew


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