- Series: Stephen Leather Thrillers
- Mass Market Paperback: 416 pages
- Publisher: Hodder (February 1, 2001)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0340770333
- ISBN-13: 978-0340770337
- Product Dimensions: 4.4 x 1 x 7 inches
- Shipping Weight: 7 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 8 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,066,510 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Stretch (Stephen Leather Thrillers) Mass Market Paperback – February 1, 2001
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"Stephen Leather should be nestling in your bookshelves alongside Frederick Forsyth and Jack Higgins...Exciting stuff."
From the Publisher
When career criminal Terry Green is sentenced to life for a murder he didn’t commit, his estranged wife has two options: walk away from the criminal empire he’s built, or take it over and become as big a gangster as her husband ever was. As far as Samantha “Sam” Greene is concerned, there’s no choice. All the family’s assets are tied up in the business, and family means more to her than anything. But being a gang boss doesn’t come easily to Sam, not when other criminals are trying to take over what’s left of her husband’s empire. As Sam gets drawn deeper into a world of drug–dealing and counterfeit money, she realizes, for the first time, the true extent of her husband’s illegal activities. And she has two burning questions to answer—can she get her husband out of jail? And should she?
Top customer reviews
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Samantha "Sam" Greene is fifteen months separated from her philandering husband of twenty-some years, Terry. Together, they'd raised three children: Laura, Jamie and Trisha. Sam had always thought hubby to be just an entrepreneur managing his nightclub, modeling agency, and courier service. Now, Terry is convicted of murdering a small time drug-dealer and is sent off to Her Majesty's Prison for life. It isn't until Terry asks Sam to take over the reins of his business that she shockingly realizes the extent of his underworld activity. But, faced with legal fees, mortgage payments, Jamie's university tuition, and 24/7 care for her debilitated mother-in-law, Sam is forced to oversee dealings in police payoffs, black-market liquor, cannabis smuggling, and the importation of counterfeit currency. Oddly, she proves surprisingly adept at it. And, when Terry is unexpectedly released from the gaol on new evidence, he finds out how talented she really is. Oh, does he ever.
There are no heroes in lilly-white hats in THE STRETCH. Though he truly loves his family despite his cheatin' ways, Terry's a charming rascal capable of heavy-handed brutality to maintain his criminal empire. On the other hand, Sam proves she can be just as unscrupulous, though she operates with finesse and, um, compassion. In any case, it's Sam that the reader roots for, certainly not the unsavory copper, Detective Chief Inspector Frank Welch, who made the case against Terry and is now out to get his missus. By default perhaps, the only truly admirable character of any importance seems to be Andy McKinley, the unfailingly polite, dependable, and circumspect bodyguard that Terry assigns to drive his wife on her appointed rounds.
The Gerald Seymour novels are consistently engrossing because of the moral gray areas in conflicts at the civilized world's grittier margins in which his protagonists dwell, and in which battles there are no clear winners and losers, only Pyrhhic victories. Here, in THE STRETCH, Leather presents an unremarkable, basically law-abiding citizen driven to extremes of antisocial behavior in order to protect the wellbeing of herself and her family. Which one of us might not do the same if backed into a corner? If that isn't a gray area, I don't know what is.
Sam, you go girl!
The gangster is less convincing that other such characters created by Stephen Leather, but his wife is absolutely delightful. She makes the novel a comic thriller (if such a thing were possible!).
This one is up to his usual standard. Well up. It races along with twists and turns, death and violence, humour and adventure, spice and drama. Full of exotic colour, even when the locations are well-known.