Wednesday, 29 August 2018

Book Review: Spook Street by Mick Herron

About the Book

What happens when an old spook loses his mind? Does the Service have a retirement home for those who know too many secrets but don’t remember they’re secret? Or does someone take care of the senile spy for good? These are the questions River Cartwright must ask when his grandfather, a Cold War–era operative, starts to forget to wear pants and begins to suspect everyone in his life has been sent by the Service to watch him.

But River has other things to worry about. A bomb goes off in the middle of a busy shopping center and kills forty innocent civilians. The agents of Slough House have to figure out who is behind this act of terror before the situation escalates.

My Thoughts

I cannot speak highly enough about this series and SPOOK STREET by Mick Herron has risen to the top as my favourite book in the series to date.

There is a lot more focus on the resident screw-ups of Slough House in this book, and we get to delve into their lives and thoughts more than in previous books. But don’t get too maudlin, they are as exasperating and trying as ever. Yet it’s difficult to be too critical of them because I think many of us can see little pieces of ourselves in some of these characters. And they provide humour whether that is the intent or not.

In this book, recent atrocities are linked to past secret service deeds, and River Cartwright’s grandfather is mixed up in it. The grandfather whose reputation is that of the real behind-the-scenes leader of the service in his day; the grandfather who now is rapidly aging and has dementia.

As the Park (secret service head office) and the Slough House team work towards uncovering the mystery and stopping the criminals, we are taken on a tension-filled and suspenseful ride. This was definitely a page-turner of a book. There were plenty of twists and particular revelations shocked me. Herron is certainly not afraid to mix things up and with Spook Street everything and everyone is in store for a big shakeup.

I found Spook Street a gripping read from start to finish and it’s cemented itself into my Top 5 reads of 2018.

About the Author

Mick Herron is a novelist and short story writer whose books include the Sarah Tucker/ZoĆ« Boehm series and the standalone novel Reconstruction.  His work has been shortlisted for the Macavity, Barry and Shamus awards, and his novella DOLPHIN JUNCTION was joint winner of the 2009 Ellery Queen Readers Award. His second standalone, Nobody Walks, was shortlisted for the Ian Fleming Steel Dagger in 2015, and was one of Booklist Magazine’s Best 101 Crime Novels of the Decade.

He is the author of the acclaimed Jackson Lamb series, the first of which, the Steel Dagger-nominated Slow Horses was hailed by the Daily Telegraph as one of the “the twenty greatest spy novels of all time”. The second in the series, Dead Lions, won the 2013 CWA Goldsboro Gold Dagger, and was picked by the Sunday Times as one of the best 25 crime novels of the past five years. The third, Real Tigers, was shortlisted for both the Gold and Steel Daggers, for the Theakstons Crime Novel of the Year, and for the 2017 Macavity Award. It won the Last Laugh Award at Crimefest 2017, for the best humorous crime novel of 2016.

Spook Street, the fourth Jackson Lamb novel – praised by Ian Rankin for its “sublime dialogue and frictionless plotting” – won the Ian Fleming Steel Dagger 2017.

The fifth Jackson Lamb novel, LONDON RULES, will appear in 2018.

Mick was born in Newcastle upon Tyne, and now lives in Oxford. He writes full time. 

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