24 pages into the spy thriller I thought : this reminds me of those dreary John le Carre spy novels. If this doesn’t improve I’m abandoning it. Page 30 is the deadline.
Whilst I read many of the JlC spy novels I don’t know that I enjoyed them that much. Half the time I didn’t have a clue what was going on – they were so vague, so murky, so is he/ or isn’t he? However, the Mick Herron Spy Thrillers came highly recommended, so we put a couple into the Milnerton Library Book Club.
And I’m so glad we did! I can’t wait to read the next one! Because – suddenly – the story took off and I was hooked, breathlessly turning the pages.
Herron’s style is very English – wry, dry, witty . There’s no 007 boobs and bullets stuff here. It’s all London in the rain (it never stops raining throughout the novel) and the workers in Slough House – the reject spies, the psychopaths, the drunks, the deranged, lurching along under the command of the ghastly Jackson Lamb – find themselves embroiled in the enigma when one of their own is killed – or is he?
There’s a rogue ex-CIA spy up to no good in France – if I write more, it’ll be a spoiler. There’s a retired top dog who’s gone cuckoo (dementia; if you read the novel, re-read my review; there’s a pun here) . What do you do with elderly spies, suffering from dementia, who know far, far more than is safe for them, us, and everybody?
Herron shows the morally murky world of spydom where solutions to sticky problems are always pragmatic and expeditious. They have to be. The ending of the novel is in the same vein.
Highly recommended. I can’t wait to read the next one!