I spy Mick Herron

To end 2017 on a light note, I thought it was worth drawing attention to this interview, posted by Ian Fleming Publications this week.

Spook Street by Mick HerronIt’s an interview with Mick Herron, one of the UK’s top crime fiction authors right now. He’s just won the CWA Ian Fleming Steel Dagger for the year’s best thriller, Spook Street.

I was a judge for this award for two years, which was how I first encountered Herron’s books. In the running in 2015 was his terrific thriller Nobody Walks. All the judges liked this story about an agent who suffered a breakdown but returns to London when his son is killed.

Nobody Walks and Spook Street

In the end Nobody Walks was pipped by Karin Slaughter’s Cop Town, which was my favourite that year. But both books were far superior to the bulk of formulaic stuff coming out each year. I know, because each year as judges we had to read around 80 books.

Having just read Spook Street, it reminded me how good Herron is at plotting and creating characters – goodies and baddies – who draw you in. Self-loathing and cynicism permeate the stories. And the wit is razor sharp.

His Jackson Lamb series, which includes Spook Street, is set in the Secret Service backwater of Slough House in London. It’s a backwater because it’s where they send the agents who are rather mediocre.

Which gives us great scenes in which the endlessly quotable Lamb can put his underlings in their place. Here he is in Spook Street: ‘If I were to tell you everything I know, you’d grow old and die before I was halfway done.’

The Ian Fleming Publications interview gives a fascinating insight into Mick Herron‘s writing. If you’re in need for a last-minute Christmas present, or want to treat for yourself, pick up one of these engrossing tales…

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