Related to: 'The Birthday Girl'

Julie Sarkissian blogs about the problems facing the protagnist of her debut novel, DEAR LUCY

Something's Wrong With Lucy - But What?

Lucy is different – that much is clear. She speaks like a child, doesn’t recognize social boundaries, flies into rages, and treasures rotten food. Her cognition is impaired, her vocabulary is very limited and she cannot read or write. But what – precisely – is wrong with her is left up to the reader. Lucy is the protagonist of my novel, DEAR LUCY, and from the first sentence of the book I ever wrote it was obvious that Lucy was cognitively different. The way Lucy describes herself is as “missing too many words.” Her mother calls her “difficult.” Readers of early drafts of the book had a few theories as to Lucy’s condition; autism, Williams Syndrome, Down Syndrome. But Lucy’s mother has kept her from going to school and Lucy has never seen a doctor. So in the fictional reality of the book there is no official diagnosis. But as the novel progressed I wondered – should I have one? I was torn. If Lucy was presenting enough symptoms to point to a real condition, was I ignoring the obvious not to fold that condition into my development of her character? Was it insensitive of me to allude to aspects of certain real, life-altering conditions but not assign a specific condition to Lucy? I worried about appropriating aspects of serious conditions without treating those conditions with proper respect and acknowledgement. And though any clinical diagnosis would probably not be explicit in the novel, I wondered if I would be ignoring an opportunity to bring attention to a real disorder when people asked me about Lucy’s condition, the way The Curious Incident of The Dog in the Night-time did for autism. On the other hand, I had concerns that if I chose a diagnosis for Lucy, I would be ascribing to her qualities that she wouldn’t have otherwise presented. Lucy had her own will over my writing and over the novel. I didn’t want to yoke Lucy’s expression by keeping her behavior and abilities consistent with a clinical condition. Accuracy would also become a critical issue if Lucy’s condition was named. Ultimately I chose not to diagnose Lucy, though I worry the artistic freedom provided by that decision comes at the price of being judged for being too liberal with my treatment of cognitive disorders. Now that publication is a few months away, I am apprehensive of how my treatment of Lucy’s cognitive limitations will be judged. I have yet to talk to a reader who has a learning different child, or works with learning different people, and that conversation is one I will be honored, and not a bit anxious, to have.

Hodder & Stoughton

Tall Order

Stephen Leather
Authors:
Stephen Leather
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Light Touch

Stephen Leather
Authors:
Stephen Leather
Hodder & Stoughton

Takedown

Stephen Leather
Authors:
Stephen Leather

When a British Special Forces soldier goes rogue, carrying out an attack at a US army base in Syria leading to the death of two men, ex-MI5 controller Charlotte Button is hired to work out what his plan is and to take him down before he can carry it out. When the man returns to the UK it looks like the threat will be a lot closer to home. Charlotte puts her best man on the case - hitman Lex Harper. It's up to Lex to assemble a crack team and get to the soldier before he carries out what could be a massive terrorist attack. But Charlotte might require Lex's help with a more personal problem too.As ex-MI5, Charlotte knows a lot of information about a lot of important people. And now someone has gone to extreme lengths to get to that information by breaking into her safe deposit box in a Hatton Garden-style armed robbery. While it's down to Lex to prevent a potential terrorist attack on British soil, Charlotte must work out who is after her and what they want.(P) 2017 Hodder & Stoughton

Hodder & Stoughton

Dark Forces

Stephen Leather
Authors:
Stephen Leather

When you're caught between two evils, only the most decisive will survive. The thirteenth book in action supremo Stephen Leather's Spider Shepherd series is his most pulse-pounding yet . . . A violent South London gang will be destroyed if Dan 'Spider' Shepherd can gather enough evidence against them while posing as a ruthless hitman. What he doesn't know is that his work as an undercover agent for MI5 is about to intersect with the biggest terrorist operation ever carried out on British soil.Only weeks before Shepherd witnessed a highly skilled IS sniper escape from a targeted missile strike in Syria. But never in his wildest dreams did he expect to next come across the shooter in a grimy East London flat.Spider's going to have to proceed with extreme caution if he is to prevent the death of hundreds of people, but at the same time, when the crucial moment comes he will have to act decisively. The clock is ticking and only he stands between us and Armageddon....'Let Spider draw you into his web, you won't regret it' Sun(P)2016 Hodder & Stoughton

Hodder & Stoughton

First Response

Stephen Leather
Authors:
Stephen Leather

From the bestselling author of the Spider Shepherd and Jack Nightingale series comes First Response, the utterly addictive new thriller by Stephen Leather. London is under siege. Nine men in suicide vests primed to explode hold hostages in nine different locations around the city, and are ready to die for their cause.Their mission: to force the government to release jihadist prisoners from Belmarsh Prison.Their deadline: 6 p.m. Today. But the bombers are cleanskins, terrorists with no obvious link to any group, and who do not appear on any anti-terror watch list. What has brought them together on this one day to act in this way? Mo Kamran is the Superintendent in charge of the Special Crime and Operations branch of the Met. As the disaster unfolds and the SAS, armed police, and other emergency services rush to the scenes, he is tasked with preventing the biggest terrorist outrage the capital has ever known.But nothing is what it seems. And only Kamran has the big picture. Will anyone believe him?A chillingly plausible and pulse-pounding depiction of how London might be held to ransom in a concerted terrorist attack: this is thriller writing at its very best.

Hodder & Stoughton

Black Ops

Stephen Leather
Authors:
Stephen Leather
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White Lies

Stephen Leather
Authors:
Stephen Leather

Dan 'Spider' Shepherd is used to putting his life on the line - for his friends and for his job with MI5. So when one of his former apprentices is kidnapped in the badlands of Pakistan, Shepherd doesn't hesitate to join a rescue mission.But when the plan goes horribly wrong, Shepherd ends up in the hands of al-Qaeda terrorists. His SAS training is of little help as his captors beat and torture him. Shepherd's MI5 controller Charlotte Button is determined to get her man out of harm's way, but to do that she's going to have to break all the rules. Her only hope is to bring in America's finest - the elite SEALs who carried out Operation Neptune Spear - in a do-or-die operation to rescue the captives.

Hodder Paperbacks

Lastnight

Stephen Leather
Authors:
Stephen Leather

A killer is murdering Goths with relish - skinning and butchering them. The cops aren't getting anywhere so Jack Nightingale's nemesis, Superintendent Chalmers, asks him for help.Nightingale discovers that the murdered Goths had one thing in common: a tattoo connected to the secretive Satanic child-sacrificing cult called the Order of Nine Angles.As Nightingale closes in on the killers, the tables are turned and he finds himself in the firing line, along with his friends and family. The Order will stop at nothing to protect their secrets and Nightingale realises that there is nothing he can do to protect himself. Nor can he run, for the Order has connections across the world. It leaves him with only one way to stop the carnage - and that's to take his own life . . .

Hodder & Stoughton

Pay Off

Stephen Leather
Authors:
Stephen Leather

Why does a wealthy Scottish financier set up a drugs deal with the IRA? Jeopardise his career, endanger his family and lover by tangling with the East End underworld and a ruthless mercenary? The motive is simple: revenge for a cold-blooded act of murder.His adversary is a dangerous gangland boss whose connections stretch from the Highlands to London and beyond. More than a match for a newcomer, especially when that newcomer's plans contain a fatal flaw which will be discovered only when it is much too late . . . *********PRAISE FOR STEPHEN LEATHER'A master of the thriller genre'Irish Times'As tough as British thrillers get . . . gripping' Irish Independent 'The sheer impetus of his story-telling is damned hard to resist'Sunday Express

Hodder & Stoughton

The Stretch

Stephen Leather
Authors:
Stephen Leather
Hodder & Stoughton

The Foreigner: the bestselling thriller now starring Jackie Chan

Stephen Leather
Authors:
Stephen Leather

Stephen Leather's BESTSELLING breakthrough thriller, previously published as THE CHINAMAN**Now a major motion picture starring Pierce Brosnan and Jackie Chan.**He understood death.Jungle-skilled, silent and lethal, he had killed for the Viet Cong and then for the Americans. He had watched helpless when his two eldest daughters had been raped and killed by Thai pirates.Now all that was behind him. Quiet, hard-working and unassuming, he was building up his South London take-away business.Until the day his wife and youngest daughter were destroyed by an IRA bomb in a Knightsbridge department store.Then, simply but persistently, he began to ask the authorities who were the men responsible, what was being done. And was turned away, fobbed off, treated as a nuisance.Which was when, denied justice, he decided on revenge. And went back to war.

Hodder Paperbacks

Cold Kill

Stephen Leather
Authors:
Stephen Leather

The third book in the bestselling Dan 'Spider' Shepherd series. Even deadlier than terrorists . . . are the men trying to stop them.People-smuggling, counterfeit currency and attempted murder. It's all in a day's work for undercover cop Dan 'Spider' Shepherd. But what starts as a run-of-the mill investigation quickly turns into a matter of life and death when he uncovers a terrorist cell on a mission of death and destruction. The target: hundreds of passengers on a cross-channel train deep below the English Channel.With the clock ticking and the explosives primed, Shepherd and his colleagues have to decide just how far they are prepared to go to save innocent lives. And they realise that to avoid catastrophe, they have to be even more merciless than the terrorists.

Hodder Paperbacks

Soft Target

Stephen Leather
Authors:
Stephen Leather

The second book in the bestselling Dan 'Spider' Shepherd series.There's only one thing more dangerous than a corrupt cop . . . and that's a corrupt cop with a gun.When a group of armed police in an elite unit turn maverick and start to rip off drug dealers at gunpoint, undercover cop Dan 'Spider' Shepherd is given his most dangerous mission so far.Shepherd is ordered to infiltrate the tight-knit team, to gain their confidence and to ultimately betray them.Facing men with guns is nothing new for the former SAS trooper, but it's the first time he's had to investigate his own. And the job couldn't have come at a worse time for him.As Shepherd finds himself in the firing line, he has to decide exactly where his loyalties lie.

Hodder Paperbacks

Hard Landing

Stephen Leather
Authors:
Stephen Leather

The first book in the bestselling Dan 'Spider' Shepherd series. Dan 'Spider' Shepherd is used to putting his life on the line. Working for an elite undercover squad he has lied, cheated and conned in order to bring Britain's most wanted criminals to justice.But when a powerful drugs baron starts to kill off witnesses to his crimes, Shepherd is given his most dangerous assignment yet. He has to go undercover in a top security prison, a world where one wrong move will mean certain death.As Shepherd gambles everything to move in on his quarry, he soon realises that the man he is hunting is even more dangerous than the police realise. And that he is capable of striking outside the prison walls and hitting Shepherd where it hurts most.

Hodder Paperbacks

The Eyewitness

Stephen Leather
Authors:
Stephen Leather

Jack Solomon is a messenger of death.Working in the fractured remains of Yugoslavia, his task is to identify the victims of ethnic cleansing and to tell families that their loved ones are never coming home.Years of toiling in the killing fields have desensitised the former London policeman to the horrors of war, but when a truck containing twenty-six bodies is pulled from a lake, Solomon is unable to walk away from the case.He sets out to track down the only survivor of the massacre, a young girl on the run from the killers. Solomon's hunt for the last witness takes him from the brothels of Sarajevo to the high-stakes world of London's internet prostitution - where he will discover that the killers are closer to home than he thinks . . .*********PRAISE FOR STEPHEN LEATHER'A master of the thriller genre'Irish Times'A writer at the top of his game'Sunday Express'In the top rank of thriller writers' Jack Higgins

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Tango One

Stephen Leather
Authors:
Stephen Leather
Hodder Paperbacks

The Tunnel Rats

Stephen Leather
Authors:
Stephen Leather

Two murders, thousands of miles apart: one in London, one in Bangkok.The bodies are brutally mutilated, an ace of spades impaled upon their chests. In Washington, a US senator receives photographs of the corpses. And realises that his past has come back to haunt him.Nick Wright is the detective trying to solve the mystery of the double killing. His hunt for a motive takes him to the Vietnam, where the American tunnel rats fought the dirtiest battle of the war against the Viet Cong. But his search places him in grave danger with a killer determined to protect the secrets of the tunnels. At whatever cost . . .************PRAISE FOR STEPHEN LEATHER'A master of the thriller genre'Irish Times'As tough as British thrillers get . . . gripping' Irish Independent 'The sheer impetus of his story-telling is damned hard to resist'Sunday Express

Hodder & Stoughton

The Solitary Man

Stephen Leather
Authors:
Stephen Leather

Chris Hutchison is a man on the run.Imprisoned for a crime he didn't commit, Hutch escapes from a British maximum-security prison and starts a new life in Hong Kong. But a ghost from his past catches up with him and gives him a choice: help a former terrorist break out of a Bangkok prison - or face life behind bars once more.Meanwhile, the DEA wants to nail the vicious drug warlord responsible for flooding the States with cheap heroin. And decides to use Hutch as a pawn in a deadly game.Hutch's bid for freedom takes him into the lawless killing fields of the Golden Triangle, where the scene is set for one final act of betrayal . . .***********PRAISE FOR STEPHEN LEATHER'A master of the thriller genre'Irish Times'A writer at the top of his game'Sunday Express 'As tough as British thrillers get . . . gripping' Irish Independent

Hodder Paperbacks

The Long Shot

Stephen Leather
Authors:
Stephen Leather
Hodder Paperbacks

The Double Tap

Stephen Leather
Authors:
Stephen Leather