Rapid Reviews: crime and punishment

If you’re seeking mystery and thrills then we’ve got a cracking selection of killer crime fiction for you. British detectives, fatal females; private eyes and serial killers; psychological page-turners and a spooky crime unit, from indie authors and bestselling big names. Here are the recent reads that we loved (and one we didn’t!) ALTERED LIFE…

Joe Country: English espionage

Brilliant but baffling. If you’re new to the Slough House series then that’s your likely reaction to this, the sixth in the sequence of modern-day spook stories. Joe Country is not one of those dip-in, dip-out, ‘can be read as a standalone’ novels. Each book in the Jackson Lamb series is a chapter in an…

Crime Time: new books and recommended reads

Ready to hit the beach? Don’t forget to take a stack of crime thrillers, espionage adventures and murder mysteries with you. Here’s the latest new publications from indie authors and bestselling big names, from hardboiled pulp fiction to Nordic noir, spy stories to high-tech thrillers, police procedurals and political conspiracies. Expect the unexpected! THE RUSSIAN…

The Righteous Spy: superb spy story

Maybe, like me, you had high hopes when Stella Rimington started writing espionage adventure novels. After all, she was the first female head honcho at MI5. Surely her spy stories would be brilliant? And maybe, like me, you were deeply disappointed by Rimington’s unremarkable early outings which fell far short of their tantalising potential. After…

The Drop: an intriguing interlude

If you’ve read the author’s Slough House / Jackson Lamb series of intellectual espionage adventures then you’ll find yourself on familiar territory with this tightly-plotted short story. It’s set in the same universe, with a couple of overlapping characters from the main spy series – and The Drop shares the same themes of backbiting, in-fighting…

London Rules: more horseplay

As with his previous ‘Slough House’ spook stories, Mick Herron launches London Rules with a simply gob-smacking opening chapter. You think you understand exactly what’s happening – just another terrorist atrocity among the daily diet of disaster – and then he pulls the rug right out from under with a single didn’t-see-that-coming sentence. It’s absurdly…

Spook Street: a masterpiece of misfits

Imagine a spy who’s the absolute opposite of the understated, discreet George Smiley and you might come up with some as obnoxious as Jackson Lamb, the lynchpin of Mick Herron’s Slough House series. Lamb is a compelling creation: a character I actively dislike but whose presence on the page lifts every scene he sweats, belches…