Archives for spy thriller

#BookReview ‘Dead Lions’ by Mick Herron #spy #thriller

No tuxedos, no superheroes, no gadgets. The Slough House spy thrillers by Mick Herron feature the spies who, having messed up, have been consigned to a dead-end department [in London, not Slough, but that’s the joke]. Dead Lions is second in the series. The title is taken from a kids’ party game, ‘You have to pretend to be dead. Lie still. Do nothing.’ When elderly retired streetwalker Dickie Bow, a spy good at following people on the street and discovering their secrets, turns up dead on a train near Oxford no-one takes much notice. Except Jackson Lamb, Slough House boss and pragmatist. The bloody-minded Lamb considers whether an old Soviet cold war tactic, planting sleeper agents in a foreign country to activate at a future date, is again being used. But who by, and why? What is there to gain? Herron populates his stories with many layers and in that they are John le Carré like. Le Carré had his own alcoholic, shambling agent in Alec Leamas and Jackson Lamb, like Leamas, is good at talking his way into unlikely places, places others would never expect to find answers. He also has a cynical sense of humour, rather like Len
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Categories: Book Love.

#BookReview ‘Slow Horses’ by Mick Herron #spy #thriller

Always on the lookout for a new thriller series to sink into, I am a late discoverer of the Jackson Lamb books by Mick Herron. Soon to be filmed as ‘Slough House’ and starring Gary Oldman as Lamb, it seemed a good time to start with book one, Slow Horses. Lamb is the quixotic leader of Slough House, the place where British spies go when they have messed up. They work in a scruffy non-descript building doing boring, repetitive, desk-based jobs and dream of going on ‘ops.’ The reason for each person’s banishment is not spoken by some pact of olvidado but they are all intensely curious about each other. Very much on the outside, they are derided at the Park, the Regent’s Park MI5 headquarters run by ‘dogs’ and ‘achievers.’ The book is littered with spy language, at first confusing, but soon accepted without a second thought. As always, the first book in a series can be slow to progress, given the need to establish characters, setting and world. And there are a lot of characters, some of whom were cardboard cut-outs with names. The action really gets moving with Hassan, a student who has been kidnapped by three
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Categories: Book Love.

Book review: Exposure

This is a powerful novel by Helen Dunmore about the effect of the Cold War on one family, thrilling yet subtle. One night in 1960, Simon Callington’s colleague falls and breaks a leg. He rings Simon and asks him to go to his flat, retrieve a document he had taken home from work, and return it to their office. And so begins a tale of official secrets, spies, cover-ups, all told through the prism of this one family, the Callingtons. This is not a traditional spy novel, there are no car chases or killings, but it is taut with tension and threat felt within the routine domesticity of Callingtons’ home. The impact of Giles’s plea for help, and Simon’s subsequent actions, changes everyone’s lives. They are living in a time of secrets and suspicion. Lily, Simon’s wife, is a German Jew brought to England by her mother before the Second World War. As a child, Lily was taught by her mother to fit in with the English, to hide her foreignness. Her life is one of secrets and covering up, when suddenly it becomes real; her husband is accused of espionage, of passing secrets to the Russians. Lily is convinced
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Categories: Book Love.