Review: Spook Street (Slough House Book 4) by Mick Herron

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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 paranoid concerns of David Cartwright, a Cold War–era operative and one-time head of MI5 who is sliding into dementia, and questions his grandson, River, must figure out answers to now that the spy who raised him has started to forget to wear pants. But River, himself an agent at Slough House, MI5’s outpost for disgraced spies, has other things to worry about. A bomb has detonated in the middle of a busy shopping center and killed forty innocent civilians. The “slow horses” of Slough House must figure out who is behind this act of terror before the situation escalates.


Dear Mick Herron,

As it often happens several library holds came for me one after another and I really had to prioritize which one to read next. It took me several days to finish entry number four in this series, but not because I liked this book any less than the previous ones.

Also if I had any doubts about this writer being able to write suspense well, this book answered it to my satisfaction. Yes, yes he can. There is a sequence somewhere in the middle or maybe in the last third of the story where one of the secondary characters is hunting another secondary character.  I was reading on the edge of my seat, would he or won’t he?

And just overall I would probably call this book the fastest moving over all. Oh there was plenty of action in the previous three books, but it had long slow moments. Actually I cannot believe I began to appreciate and want those slow moments in this book, because I felt that there were very few in this story.

I also began to see, I do not want to call it formula yet, because so far the books do not feel formulaic at all, but maybe structure?

In books two and this one the past work during the Cold War begins to bite some of the former spooks in their behinds and the story gets moving from there.  Personally I found the rationale of books two and four to be more believable, but of course I have no connection to that reality so I would not know.

As the blurb tells you, River starts to worry about his grandfather possibly having dementia, but maybe some of his concerns are not as imaginary as one may think?  I certainly did not expect the direction that the writer took the story.

I also have to take back the idea that I am okay with the writer liking to kill his characters off.  I got very attached to the whole crew and at the end of this book I had to go and ask a friend who read the whole series already and made her tell me whether anybody else from the main crew is going to stop living in the next book? Please let me be very clear, it is not me criticizing the writer, or anything like that. Whatever killings happen here usually serve the story. But I want to have a reading experience that makes me satisfied and I am afraid seeing any one of these characters dead just won’t do that. My friend told me that if she remembers correctly none of the main crew dies. if she misremembered that, please let me know, I would be very grateful.

I also appreciated that the writer upped the funny/sarcastic comments in this book, I think it was badly needed to offset the rest if for no other reason.

““Service?” Louisa showed her card again. “You’re one of Lamb’s crew. The slow horses.”

“We get called that,” Louisa said. “And Cartwright’s another.”

“It was him with you? In the car?” “Do you all act dumb all the time? Or is it not an act?”

“We take it in turns,” said Louisa.

“It was him in the car, wasn’t it?”

“Until his buddy came to rescue him.” Louisa laughed. “What?” “River having buddies. Never mind. You don’t know who it was, then?””

Grade: A-

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Sirius started reading books when she was four and reading and discussing books is still her favorite hobby. One of her very favorite gay romances is Tamara Allen’s Whistling in the Dark. In fact, she loves every book written by Tamara Allen. Amongst her other favorite romance writers are Ginn Hale, Nicole Kimberling, Josephine Myles, Taylor V. Donovan and many others. Sirius’ other favorite genres are scifi, mystery and Russian classics. Sirius also loves travelling, watching movies and long slow walks.

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