David Cartwright is a legend of MI5 and a bonifide Cold War hero whose mind is slipping in his dotage. His loved ones have to wonder if the "stotes" hiding in the bushes and following him to the store each day are real or imagined. Only one thing is certain: Old spooks don't go quietly and neither do the secrets they keep.
David Cartwright is a legend of MI5 and a bonifide Cold War hero whose mind is slipping in his dotage. His loved ones have to wonder if the “stotes” hiding in the bushes and following him to the store each day are real or imagined. Only one thing is certain: Old spooks don’t go quietly and neither do the secrets they keep.
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 Home Office to watch him.
But River has other things to worry about. A bomb has detonated in the middle of a busy shopping center and killed forty innocent civilians. The agents of Slough House have to figure out who is behind this act of terror before the situation escalates.
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“All espionage aficionados are—or soon will be—reading Herron. But it’s high time, too, that readers of literary fiction embrace him in the way they have John le Carré.”
–Booklist, Starred Review on Spook Street
“Terrific spy novel . . . Sublime dialogue, frictionless plotting.”
—Ian Rankin, via Twitter
“Stylistically, you can draw comparisons with the work of Raymond Chandler, though Herron keeps a tighter grasp on his narrative than Chandler ever did... Herron is a master of timing, word by word, sentence by sentence. His language creates its own world, with streaks of satire and loss that prevent it from becoming too comfortable.”
“[Herron] is superb at evoking the le Carré-esque air of ennui, cynicism and self-loathing which permeates an intelligence service on its uppers, but which remains – the alternative being too awful to contemplate – duty bound to keep calm and carry on.... Herron also leavens the mood with flashes of mordant humour, while the hilariously repellent Jackson Lamb – the anti-Smiley – is a constant source of politically incorrect one-liners.”