The Spider Shepherd Series created by the crime fiction author Stephen Leather is often called the Dan Shepherd series. It follows the adventures of an SAS trooper who suffers an injury during his deployment to Afghanistan and leaves the service. The character of Spider Shepherd is a former SAS operative who turns his hand to detective work in covert operations after leaving the Special Air Service due to an injury picked up in Afghanistan.
Order of Spider Shepherd Series
Order of Spider Shepherd Short Stories Series
|4||Spider Shepherd Short Stories||2013|
|5||Natural Selection (Short Story)||2013|
|10||More Short Fuses||2014|
|12||Spider Shepherd: SAS Volume 1||2014|
|13||Spider Shepherd: SAS Volume 2||2014|
|15||The Rope (Short Story)||2015|
|16||Planning Pack (Short Story)||2015|
|17||The Sandpit (Short Story)||2016|
Life after the SAS is no picnic for Shepherd, and he is forced to find work as a London Police Officer. However, this perfectly positions Shepherd to be recruited by an undercover squad that opens the doorway to a life filled with danger and violence.
The main character in the Spider Shepherd series of books is undercover agent Dan Shepherd, better known by his nickname Spider. After being shot in Afghanistan, Shepherd must leave the Special Air Service, and in doing so he is recruited to a dark ops team where he must put the skills he picked up in the SAS to good use.
The first book to feature the character of Dan ‘Spider’ Shepherd is Hard Landing, which was released in 2004. The book Hard Landing sees our hero, Shepherd, having to go undercover to infiltrate the network of a drug baron who is still operating from behind bars. While on the operation, Shepherd’s wife is killed, leaving to to act as a single dad while also trying to be an undercover operative. The book highlights the struggle Shepherd has trying to be a good dad while also doing the best job he can in a high-pressure and dangerous environment. The book was a critical success, receiving a nomination for the Ian Fleming Steel Dagger Award from the Crime Writers’ Association.
The tenth book in the Spider Shepherd, True Colours, deals with the modern phenomenon of Russian oligarchs setting up residence in Britain. In True Colours, an assassin is picking off some of the wealthiest men in the world, with no oligarch feeling safe. When one of them turns to MI5 for protection, he is assigned Spider Shepherd to keep him safe and to get to the bottom of who is doing all these murders. Although the first motive seems to be political, it soon becomes clear that there is more to this than meets the eyes.
The Spider Shepherd series has been compared to the Jack Reacher series, particularly because of the protagonists of both series. Reacher and Shepherd are both highly skilled soldiers who left the army and have since determined to use their abilities to stop the corrupt and unjust forces of the world.
Stephen Leather, the author of the Spider Shepherd Books started out as a screenwriter producing television shows. He has been credited for his contribution to shows like London’s Burning and The Knock.
A top-selling Amazon Kindle Author and student of Manchester Grammar School, not to mention Bath University, even though Stephen studied biochemistry, he spent a decade in the journalism field before writing his first book.
Stephen Leather is always writing about the themes of Imprisonment, Terrorism, crime and the military, and the Spider Shepherd series falls neatly within that box.
Spider Shepherd Awards
Stephen Leather has not had the pleasure of winning any notable accolades for his Spider Shepherd series. However, the first book received an Ian Fleming Steel Dagger Award Nomination.
Stephen was also lucky enough to receive a Thriller Writers Nomination in 2007 for Cold Kill.
The author’s books in this series have made it to a number of bestseller lists.
Best Spider Shepherd Books
Even though Stephen Leather’s Dan Shepherd books are a little lacking when it comes to winning awards, they definitely enjoy a sizeable following, with the best books in the series including:
Hard Landing: For Dan Shepherd, lying, stealing, and cheating, not to mention putting his life on the line are second nature, a part of his job description in an elite undercover squad working to bring Britain’s most dangerous criminals down.
When a drug baron begins to target the witnesses that could see him pinned for his crimes, Shepherd is sent into a maximum security prison to unravel the baron’s operations. Suddenly thrown into a world where his every move could end his life, Shepherd quickly learns that there is more to the baron than even the police realize.
In order to write his book, Stephen Leather actually spent some time in South London’s Belmarsh Prison. While there, Stephen was astonished to learn that his books were quite popular amongst the prisoners.
Soft Target: A group of renegade police officers has taken to ripping drug dealers off, and it is up to Dan Shepherd, also called Spider, to infiltrate their team, gain their trust and betray them.
Dan has worked against many a criminal over the years. However, this assignment is something special because it pits Dan against one of his own.
This story has two primary threads; one sees Dan Shepherd posing as a contract killer while the other finds him infiltrating a renegade unit of the police. Both threads keep Dan very busy, giving him and the readers very little space to breathe.
Other Book Series You May Like
Fans also enjoy the “Jack Nightingale” Series by Stephen Leather. Jack Nightingale was a police officer. However, certain events drove him to take on the role of private investigator in London. Jack’s life is turned upside down when he realizes that his real family is rooted in Satanism and that he is living on borrowed time.
Of course, you have to mention the “Jack Reacher” Series by Lee Child. Jack Reacher was once a highly decorated and well-respected major in the US Army’s Military police. Now he wanders the United States, taking on odd jobs and using his skills to right some wrongs.
Spider Shepherd FAQs
Q: What is the first book in the Spider Shepherd series?
A: The first book in the Spider Shepherd series is Hard Landing, which was released in 2004.
Q: Who created the Spider Shepherd series?
A: The Spider Shepherd series was written by prolific crime fiction author Stephen Leather.