Jackson Lamb’s young crew of screw ups are starting to get frustrated. Just days after the Westacres shopping centre bombing killed 40 innocents, the pen-pushing agents of Slough House have turned to time killers like office gossip and dubious water-boarding experiments. After all, it’s hard to be away from all the action.
But things are about to heat up. Lamb is called out to identify the body of one of his agents – River Cartwright, the hapless grandson of an old Spook Street compatriot. And he will not back down until he gets to the bottom of a mystery that gets more thrilling by the minute.
Mick Herron’s writing is both playful and wonderfully evocative. The Dickensian structure of Slough House is so well rendered, it’s almost alive: “if you could magic the plumbing out of the structure and view it as a free-standing exoskeleton, it would be all leaks and dribbles: an arthritic dinosaur”.
His description of the blast that sets off the action gets under the skin of things – ensuring even the most jaded of thriller readers will be moved to turn the page. “For the blast, when it came, left little in tact. It shattered bone and pulverised mortality, and reduced all nearby life to charred stubble.”
This is the fourth in the well-loved Jackson Lamb series, which kicked off in 2010 with Slow Horses. The second, Dead Lions, won the 2013 CWA Goldsboro Gold Dagger award, and the third Real Tigers, was shortlisted for both the Goldsboro Gold Dagger and CWA Ian Flemming Steel Dagger awards.
Lamb might be a grizzled old Joe, but he has plenty of life in him yet. Bursting with unique characters, vivid descriptions, strange twits and blackly funny observations – readers are guaranteed Spook Street is not the end of the ride.
Mick Herron was born in Newcastle and has a degree in English from Balliol College, Oxford. He is the author of three books in the Slough House series as well as a mystery series set in Oxford featuring Sarah Tucker and/or P.I. Zoë Boehm. He now lives in Oxford and works in London.