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Pay Off (Stephen Leather Thrillers) Paperback – May 1, 1997

3.7 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

'Stephen Leather should be nestling in your bookshelves alongside Frederick Forsyth and Jack Higgins' -- Daily Mail 'This is an aggressively topical novel but a genuinely thrilling one, too.' -- Daily Telegraph on COLD KILL

About the Author

Stephen Leather is one of the UK's most successful thriller writers, an ebook and Sunday Times bestseller and author of the critically acclaimed Dan 'Spider' Shepherd series and the Jack Nightingale supernatural detective novels. Before becoming a novelist he was a journalist for more than ten years on newspapers such as The Times, the Daily Mirror, the Glasgow Herald, the Daily Mail and the South China Morning Post in Hong Kong. He is one of the country's most successful ebook authors and his titles have topped the Amazon Kindle charts in the UK and the US. His bestsellers have been translated into fifteen languages and he has also written for television. You can learn more from Stephen's website, www.stephenleather.com, find him on Facebook, and follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/stephenleather. Stephen also has a website for his Spider Shepherd series, www.danspidershepherd.com, and for his Jack Nightingale series, www.jacknightingale.com.
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Product Details

  • Series: Stephen Leather Thrillers
  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton (May 1, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0340672234
  • ISBN-13: 978-0340672235
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 4.2 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,049,722 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Stephen Leather is one of the UK's most successful thriller writers, an eBook and Sunday Times bestseller and author of the critically acclaimed Dan "Spider' Shepherd series and the Jack Nightingale supernatural detective novels. Before becoming a novelist he was a journalist for more than ten years on newspapers such as The Times, the Daily Mirror, the Glasgow Herald, the Daily Mail and the South China Morning Post in Hong Kong.

He is one of the country's most successful eBook authors and his eBooks have topped the Amazon Kindle charts in the UK and the US. In 2011 alone he sold more than 500,000 eBooks and was voted by The Bookseller magazine as one of the 100 most influential people in the UK publishing world. Born in Manchester, he began writing full time in 1992.

His bestsellers have been translated into fifteen languages. He has also written for television shows such as London's Burning, The Knock and the BBC's Murder in Mind series and two of his books, The Stretch and The Bombmaker, were filmed for TV. You can find out more from his website www.stephenleather.com and you can follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/stephenleather

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The lesson of Stephen Leather's PAY OFF is that revenge, rather than being a dish best eaten cold, is perhaps best not consumed at all.

As I sat down to write this review, I realized that the author didn't give a name to his novel's hero. I've flipped back through the pages to ensure that I didn't miss something; I apparently didn't, so let's call him "Mac" because he's a Scotsman.

Mac, a co-partner of Scottish Corporate Advisors, is a financier with a grudge. His father had managed an investment trust, Scottish Commercial Overseas Trust, until it was hijacked by Ronnie Laing and and Alan Kyle, the former a vicious drug dealer and the latter a specialist in hostile corporate acquisitions. During the SCOT takeover, Mac's mother died in an auto accident, perhaps arranged by Laing as a warning to her husband. In any case, the day after losing control of his company, Mac's despondent father blew his own brains out with a shotgun. Mac wants revenge, and plans an intricate sting that will frame Laing and Kyle for the theft of a large cocaine shipment from the IRA, an outfit you don't want to annoy. To that end, Mac enlists the help of a high-end courtesan, a car thief, an ex-SAS mercenary, and a driver who once worked for Laing. But the best laid plans oft go awry, and by the time Mac is dumping bodies into a Highland loch, events have spun out of control. Don't try this at home.

This is only my third Leather thriller, with five more on the shelf to read. So far, the protagonists have been nominally law-abiding citizens forced by circumstance to the far side of the law. PAY OFF, at 240 paperbacked pages, is relatively short. While perhaps offering lo-carb plot and character development, this thriller met expectations for concept and action.
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Format: Kindle Edition
“Pay Off” is Stephen Leather’s first novel, published in 1988. I have not enjoyed an opportunity to read any of his later novels, but based on the promise of his first novel, am eager to do so.

PO is beautifully written, but not particularly well crafted. Leather’s prose is brilliant and his allegories are witty. The most interesting aspects of the novel are his descriptions of investment banking (a subject one wouldn’t expect to be particularly interesting), financial frauds, characters and aspects of life in Scotland and London. If I could write prose half as well as he does, I could doubtlessly shed those detestable commas from my own Amazon sales rankings.

However, his plot is a bit lame, to put it bluntly. A well-heeled gentleman hatches a sophomoric revenge plot that entails throwing a lot of money at the problem in order to keep his own hands clean. He gets in over his head and things go balls-up. He decides that if you want something done right, you need to take personal responsibility and do it yourself. However, to do so, he draws upon resources and alliances uniquely available to him and with outside help that borders on deus ex machina, concludes his quest. Consequently, the moral of the story is very weak. The protagonist makes choices that are unavailable to Everyman, so the consequences have little significance to anybody else. The trials he confronts are too easily overcome, usually by simply throwing money at them. The losses he suffers are relatively minor, even though the body count is considerably higher than ordinarily encountered in finance. The romantic interest and angle is more than a little contrived.

The book is already older than many in its target audience.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
While I did enjoy Stephen Leather's very English noir style, I think the whole time building up to the climax was drowned out by the very quick out come at the end. He spend a lot of effort planning and getting all the details right for revenge when it all started to fall into place it was all over. This is my second Leather book and I did enjoy his style and it hasn't put me off reading more of his book, I just won't be recommending this book as a starting point for this author.
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