After reading a few of Herron’s novels involving “slow horses”, ex-intelligence agents reassigned to spend their remaining days at “slough house”, a decrepit, relic of a house, this story is quite different.
Although it involves an “ex service agent” he is nothing like the gang we know from slough house.
After his last lengthy undercover assignment is over, Tom Bettany finally returns home. Faced with the terminal illness and death of his wife he is rejected by his son who blames him for his mother’s death. He leaves his home and his son and finds menial work in a French abattoir. Years later, he receives a call informing him of his son’s death and returns to London to attend his funeral. Was Liam’s fall from his balcony just an accident?
His spy sense suggests maybe not. He thus begins his rogue investigation searching the late night hangouts of bars and clubs where he tries to become familiar with his son’s lifestyle. Interviewing the wealthy head of the software design firm that employed Liam provides no enlightenment. In need of a weapon, he is drawn back into the seedy underworld where he was once submerged while working undercover as an agent. Eventually he makes contact with his former boss, Dame Ingrid Tearney, head of the British Intelligence Service at Regent Park. His meet with Tearney sheds no more light on his son’s death than did Liam’s boss and coworkers. Searching for the truth is never easy when it involves criminals from the underworld, drug dealers, or his old colleagues in British Intelligence where the “double and triple cross” are far from unusual.
The ending packs a powerful punch and will leave readers wondering...is the bottom line always about money?
Herron’s plot is sly and unpredictable; the story is tight, gripping, and suspenseful. An excellent book written by an outstanding author.
I really enjoy Mick Herron's writing. He can be economical with his words, while still getting the point across. He's able to ratchet up the tension w/o leaning too heavily on gore. This book is a rare stand alone title and as such, a great place to begin exploring this author's work.
Great book. Eloquent writer. Not too much "fluffy" description. Just succinct and well-worded. My husband said his writing reminded him of works by Hemingway.
A fantastic novel, with a gripping plot. I considered the ending, although brilliant, not entirely satisfactory, because of the protocol she mentions [have to read it to understand that], but all in all, still top notch! This is a reality-based book, which is why it is so good. Not the reality one sees on TV or the movies or those godforsaken PBS so-called documentaries funded by the Koch brothers, but the way it really works. No national security, it is all about the money. No God, Queen and Country, it is all about the money. Something an idiot like story-telling Brian Williams, or a blithering moron like Dan Rather, or pipsqueek brain like Tom Brokaw or Charlie Rose and company, will never tell you, because they cannot read that from their teleprompters!
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