First Response – a terrorist plot

First Response by Stephen Leather.

I love both of the series by bestselling author Stephen Leather featuring the characters of Spider Shepherd and Jack Nightingale respectively. I was surprised to find that this new novel features a terrific new character – Muslim police superintendent Mo Kamran. First Response has been written as a standalone novel, but Stephen Leather notes that he might well end up doing a series of books featuring this very different character.

Stephen Leather’s choice of a Muslim police superintendent is significant and a brilliant stroke as he balances the plot of a terrorist attack by ISIS supporters which is set in a number of locations across London. Nine men wearing suicide vests spread out in different locations and threaten to kill themselves and their hostages if some jihadist prisoners are not released from Belmarsh prison by 6pm.  The story follows the events at each hostage site and at the police operations headquarters.

The plot feels very plausible and realistic, and made me feel how vulnerable we are even when visiting as tourists. A great read with a twist at the end.