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Killing Plato has all the ingredients of contemporary headlines merged into one amazing and plausible story. Jake  Needham distills them  into his own take on events. Prescience  you may ask?  Killing Plato reads like a manual  on how  ISIS was funded and  formed. And  to the recent  Panama Paper leaks?  Jake has written about these subjects long before they came news.

Big themes keep on popping up in Needham’s book. If you read his Inspector Tay series, you might get  a whiff of what interests the author and how he manages to turn headlines into compelling and chilling tales of an Asia not so subdued. Just under the surface of   cliches, Needham explores the dark side that rarely sees the day of light. His torch is examining a beast that at times remains dormant but when it awakens, it can cause horrible carnage.

 Killing Plato is like watching two different films projected on the big screen. Always, just on the peripherals, Jake documents the poor and downtrodden. It’s like, I see you, and I hear you, but at the moment I’m covering the life of the rich and the corrupt  to make sure justice is declared. There’s always hope for the little people who eke out their lives to the left of centre stage. Justice may just trickle down to their  not so insignificant lives.

Jack Shepherd is talking to us through Jake  Needham.  Don’t for one moment tune out, you might just miss a wonderful  Jack Shepherd two  liner – Men always talk too much in front of beautiful women. It’s an incurable male disease, frequently fatal.  There are too many to quote here. Jack Shepherd might be a bit of bumbling professor but he has balls of steal and wit to boot.

Killing Plato might just test  Jack Shepherd’s mettle. Does he  have the right stuff? When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. There’s no time for that  sentimental crap when someone is trying to kill you.

Jake knows his stuff too well, but he  will never get too ahead of the reader. He’ll throw the ball back at us, just to make sure we are  following and enjoying the game. There’s the sarcasm, there’s  cynicism and  there’s outright cheeky stuff in this  book.

But don’t be fooled. Jake is tackling heavy themes. And if you learn something from Killing Plato while being entertained, then I’d say the author has done his job.

Jack Shepherd is in a league of of his own. But just don’t call him slick.

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