“ Genre: Crime / Thriller / Author: Stephen Leather / Narrator: Paul Thornley „
Rough Justice by Stephen Leather
This is the seventh book in the Dan 'Spider' Shepherd series.
Shepherd is an undercover cop working for SOCA (Serious Organised Crime Organisation). He used to work for the Met Police in the past doing the same kind of thing. He is a former SAS soldier.
== Plot Synopsis ==
Some vigilante cops are taking the law into their own hands and crippling and beating up criminals in London.
The possible suspects are narrowed down to a specific tactical Police unit in London.
Shepherd is infiltrated into their unit, and is ordered to find out who among them are the guilty ones and bring them to justice.
== My thoughts ==
When I initially read the description for this, I thought this would be like an earlier book in the Dan Shepherd series, in which he went undercover into a rogue police firearms unit. However, this is different in the issues it deals with.
In the blurb for this audio book, it says this character is like Ian Rankin's protagonist Malcolm Fox, but I personally have not read any of his novels, so I can't really comment on this.
I like the way in which the author makes you think about topics like the nanny state, immigration, racism, crime and punishment, but he does it in a way that is entertaining and informative at the same time. I did agree with a lot of the points he makes. I do think punishment for certain crimes needs to be tougher than what is currently being administered.
I got to learn about the tactical police and the work they do in London. I didn't know what kettling was, even though I have seen it mentioned in the news until I read this. It is a form of crowd control, whereby the riot Police surround a crowd and use their shields to block anyone getting out.
The story is written in the third person and it switches between Dan Shepherd and the rogue Police unit going about their work punishing criminals. I liked the way the author shows us the rogue police unit going about their work, but not revealing their identity right until the end. I found it a bit strange, but I could empathise with the rogue police officers more than I could with the main protagonist, Shepherd. I was able to understand their reasoning behind their actions. I do think there are occasions when the system lets criminals walk free when it shouldn't.
On the other hand, I thought Dan Shepherd was a bit of a hypocrite. On the one hand, he's going undercover into a police unit, helping to bring down the vigilante cops, while at the same time, he is doing the same kind of thing as them, in his personal life.
A friend and mentor of his, Major Gannon who he knows from his SAS days asks for his help in avenging the death of his nephew by the hands of the Real IRA.
What he's doing in his personal life vs. his undercover work makes for a vivid contrast and makes you ponder on what is right and wrong.
Razor, Shepherds politically incorrect undercover buddy makes an appearance. I liked the way the narrator voices his Scottish accent. Some of the things he says can be slightly offensive, but I do think he makes some valid points around political correctness going mad.
Considering what happens right at the end, I would hope this turn of events, takes Dan Shepherd on more adventurous outings in the future.
== Audio narration ==
This is unabridged and was narrated by Paul Thornley. It is 14 hours and 25 mins in length.
You should be able to pick this up from your local library. However, the audio download version of this audio book is currently selling for £11.54 or you can listen to it on the Audible site if you have a subscription.
== Summary and recommendation ==
I give this 4 stars. Overall, I liked this novel more than a few of the previous ones in this series. Mainly, due to the moral and ethical questions it raised, around crime and punishment which gave me something to think about. I liked the way in which the author made me understand the viewpoint of the vigilante cops.
Saying that, I think it was too long and could have been made a lot shorter. I think the ending was not as gripping as the rest of the book as I'm finding it difficult to recall what happened exactly, but a decision Shepherd makes near the end, should hopefully lead this series in a new direction.