When Soho Crime initially published Mick Herron’s Dead Lions (Book 2 of the Jackson Lamb Thriller) in the US in 2013, I had the pleasure of reading it. This book was a perfect fit for me because I’m an unapologetic lover of the British TV show Spooks and enjoy dark humour. I am terrible at reading a series, but I promised myself this would be an exception because the idea, the characters, and Herron’s excellent style made it impossible to continue religiously from that point on.
Years have passed; Book 5 will be released in the middle of 2018; and Book 6 is now being written. The Jackson Lamb Thrillers have grown to be international successes, and John Murray (UK) has just re-released them with brand-new, ominous “spooky” cover art. It was time to board again. The fact that Bachelor served in the secret service during a period when half of the people revealed their personal lives online occasionally amused him, but it also occasionally depressed him. Although he wasn’t convinced it had been better, the Cold War had been more respectable.
That novelette The List, which comes in between the second and third complete novels, Dead Lions and Real Tigers, is an engaging read on its own. The MI5 setting and some of Herron’s most beloved characters, such as their acerbic commander Lady Di Taverner, were lovely to revisit for me, nevertheless. Throughout her discourse, she never let her eyes leave his. He was beginning to understand how mice and other little animals in the bush felt. the kind that Molly Doran, the physical records officer at Regent’s Park, and snakes prey on.
It was said that she controlled an entire floor, running it like a dragon controlled its lair. It was simple to understand where the dragon rumour originated because she was a terrifying woman. Using the simple tactic of giving the first student she caught drifting such a bollocking that he likely still trembles when reminded of it today, she held her audience if not spellbound then certainly gobsmacked. She was wheelchair-bound and had a general demeanour that just dared you to give a sh!t about it. Along with the pessimistic but enlightened spooks assigned to Slough House.
Herron’s writing style intrigues me in particular since his narrative reads easily despite the frequent usage of quite lengthy and complicated sentence constructions. His writing has a charming poetry that feels like a dialogue. The List is an excellent introduction to the writing of Mick Herron and the Jackson Lamb Thrillers, with all the character development, pace, and suspense of a full-length bestseller. Definitely worth reading.
About The Book
Aged spy Dieter Hess has passed away, and John Bachelor, his MI5 handler, is in terrible, terrible trouble. There is only ever one reason a spy would have a secret second bank account, and death has revealed that the deceased had been doing just that. The answer to the query of whether he was a double agent is crucial because it may destroy the secrets of a whole career of espionage.
This short story (at 43 pages my apologies to Penguin's publicist, but this is not a novella) is the third entry in the Slough House series about an out of the way wreck of a building where British intelligence sends its embarrassments to moulder out of sight. This works both as a stand alone and as an intro to a refreshing series that brings an overdue touch of humor (droll in the Brit manner) to the genre.
- Clever and funny.
- Funny and sophisticated.
- Excellent spy novella!
- Excellent quick read.
- Where's the story?
- An utter Disappointment.
- Not a real book.
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