cover image Spook Street

Spook Street

Mick Herron. Soho Crime, $26.95 (320p) ISBN 978-1-61695-647-9

In Herron’s terrific, and terrifically funny, fourth Slough House novel (after 2016’s Real Tigers), London’s intelligence teams are on full alert after a suicide bomber kills dozens in a mall. But at Slough House, the home of British spies put out to pasture, the immediate need is to investigate the possible murder of one of its own, River Cartwright, apparently shot while seeing to his grandfather David Cartwright, a former powerful member of the Service, now a paranoid old man. Those in charge quickly figure out the people responsible for the bombing but don’t understand the motive. Meanwhile, the Slough House team, led by the despicable Jackson Lamb, tries to figure out who would go after River. The search leads to France and a recently torched commune, an odd ménage of Americans, Russians, and children. The two plot lines slowly converge amid a heady mixture of deadpan humor, deft characterizations, and acute insight (“A loose bullet rips a hole in normality”). The title refers to a suspicious state of mind: “When you lived on Spook Street you wrapped up tight: watched every word, guarded every secret.” Agent: Juliet Burton, Juliet Burton Literary Agency (U.K.) (Feb.)