Real Tigers: second rate spies save the day

There’s no doubt about it: Mick Herron blows the bloody doors off with the opening chapters of Real Tigers. This is stand-out, showboat, top rank writing, honed close to perfection with all the skill and dedication of an artisan craftsman. Mind you, people who haven’t read the two earlier novels in the ‘Slough House’ trilogy…

Typhoon: China spies

An old-school espionage adventure, set in the recent past in Hong Kong, Typhoon explores that pivotal moment when one of the last outposts of England’s old empire faded from Britain’s history and into China’s future. Cumming has an unfussy writing style which at times borders on the basic. There are a couple of segments in…

Criminal encounters: new books and recommended reads

The dead bodies are really starting to stack up! There are just too many excellent new crime-thrillers and murder mysteries to cram into one update this month. So here’s an initial assortment of killer priests, Nordic noir, American blues, black comedy, private eyes, psychological thrillers, Scandi crime and savage assassins. Look out for more next…

The Trinity Six: spy jinks in Cambridge

Initially, The Trinity Six dodders along somewhat like an old-fashioned 1960s spy story, and seems hardly relevant to the modern world. A history professor inherits a project from a journo friend which goes back to the days of Philby, Burgess and Maclean. The title of the book and the first third of the story seem…