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This Is What Happened

3.24  ·  Rating details ·  1,183 ratings  ·  218 reviews
From CWA Gold Dagger winner Mick Herron comes a shocking, twisted novel of psychological suspense about one woman’s attempt to be better than ordinary

Twenty-six-year-old Maggie Barnes is someone you would never look at twice. Living alone in a month-to-month sublet in the huge city of London, with no family but an estranged sister, no boyfriend or partner, and not much in
Hardcover, 263 pages
Published January 23rd 2018 by Soho Crime
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David L. It's a sad commentary on how easily a poor lonely person can be manipulated. He's an awful man and it's a rather ugly story but I don't see it as a…moreIt's a sad commentary on how easily a poor lonely person can be manipulated. He's an awful man and it's a rather ugly story but I don't see it as a mystery.(less)

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3.24  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,183 ratings  ·  218 reviews

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Apr 04, 2018 rated it it was ok
According to me, this is what happened.

Mick Herron behaved badly, and Meredith Barnes was furious. As an apology, he wrote this as a way to let Meredith know this is what happened. It was a personal account and littered with clues only Meredith would understand. Unfortunately for us, Mick's publisher accidentally picked up the manuscript amidst other papers. During an evening of excessive alcohol consumption, the publisher read it, proclaimed, “Yesh, thizziz good!” and proceeded to publication.

Feb 21, 2018 rated it it was ok
The description of the plot of this book is totally wrong. THIS is what REALLY happened in This Is What Happened: three of the most idiotic knuckleheads imaginable somehow come together and vie for the award of "World's Most Stoopidest Person Ever." It is a very close contest, but in the end (view spoiler). Oh, and MI5.
Feb 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This Is What Happened is the third stand-alone novel by award-winning British author, Mick Herron. Twenty-six-year-old Maggie Barnes hadn't made any friends in the time she'd been in London. She lived in a tiny flat and worked a fairly boring job in the post room down in the basement of the Quilp House. A toxic ex-boyfriend had her avoiding Facebook; she'd dipped a toe into the Twittersphere and had seven followers, several of those probably bots.

When Harvey Wells came along to the café she fre
switterbug (Betsey)
Nov 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
I took a risk on this book, knowing nothing of British author Nick Herron’s work, and aware that suspense thrillers often lead into generic, bloodthirsty, and gratuitous cliché--mediocre TV-in-a-book exploitation with hackneyed dialogue and soap-opera-beautiful victims. Fortunately, I discovered early that this was going to be the opposite of my fears, with a thoughtfully provocative plot and contoured characters. But little did I anticipate how derailed I would be as the book shifts from the st ...more
May 21, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I am a huge fan of Mick Herron’s Jackson Lamb series and so was delighted to get a copy of this new, stand-alone, novel. Having finished it, I feel it is both difficult to review (without giving spoilers) and also very different from Slough House. Indeed, if you read this looking for similarities, you will be disappointed. This is very different, both in terms of being both a more straight forward telling of the story and in terms of the characters.

Maggie Barnes is a young woman who has recently
May 06, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Ugh. Verbose verbosity x 100.

Not a good experience. This is a nice 25 page short story stretched to super-irritating novella length.

I probably skimmed 75% of it.

One quote worth noting -
All those gadgets which once seemed gifts to the adulterous –mobile phones, email systems –were now links in the chains of evidence used to drag guilty parties through the divorce courts. So pens and paper were reached for instead, which she thought an improvement. An erotic email was pornographic, one more spe
Feb 15, 2018 rated it did not like it
1.5 stars, I am usually a big Mick Herron fan but this book was awful. Was he trying to go for some kind of cheap and easy Gone Girl rip off? The plot 'twist' wasn't much of one at all and came fairly early, the rest of the book was a slow churn of boredom and overly dense phrases about life in London. However, the characters were truly the worst, as they were also boring and only varied in variety on their level of how mind numbingly pathetic they were.

Recommend skipping this and reading anythi
Nov 27, 2017 rated it did not like it
Shelves: vine, arc, fiction
False advertising. This book is NOT about a nobody learning to become a super-secret-agent-y-thing. If that's what you're hoping for, click away now and save yourself the disappointment (and disgust, geez, how many of these (view spoiler) 'thrillers' do we need?).
Tonstant Weader
Feb 04, 2018 rated it it was ok
This is What Happened by Mick Herron is, in a way, two books in one and that is not a good thing. The story opens with a taut, suspenseful bit of espionage. Everywomen Maggie Barnes has been recruited by MI-5 to install something on a computer where she works in the mailroom–a low profile job that gives her access to every floor. She’s amazing, she extemporizes and saves herself when things go wrong, she keeps calm and collected. This is the story I expected to read from descriptions of the book ...more
Sid Nuncius
Apr 29, 2018 rated it it was ok
I have loved every one of Mick Herron's Slough House novels and tried the stand-alone This Is What Happened on the strength of them. It is nothing like as good.

It is hard to give an idea of the book without excessive spoilers, but although it appears to begin as an espionage novel in an exciting opening sequence, it becomes apparent very soon that all is not what it appears to be and the book develops into more of a run-of-the-mill thriller. Herron writes well (of course), but the plot and chara
Nov 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I’ve read a few of Herron’s Spook Street books and enjoyed them but with This Is What Happened he ratchets up the suspense. There are three main characters and their viewpoints alternate to tell their perspective. Herron uses this technique to slowly dole out the story. It begins with a young woman, Maggie, who’s recently moved to London after some bad experiences in the small village where she grew up. Then the narrator switches to the voice of a seasoned big city bloke.

Things get dark. They ge
Feb 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
Fast moving, tightly wound scare bear tale. My heart has returned to normal rhythm now that I have finished this book in one read.
later note: It would have disappointed me greatly had I paid the high price for this book because it is more of a short story, limited in scope but successful in portraying a real creep of a man.
Jun 04, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I'm a huge fan of the Jackson Lamb thrillers and I went into this thinking I was getting a spy thriller, or indeed a good book. It isn't either, although you'd think it might be from the promising opening. To say more would be venturing into spoiler territory so I'll just leave it at this - if you want a spy thriller, read the impeccable Jackson Lamb books; if you want a psychological thriller, you don't want to read this, either. The good news is it's very short.
Liz Barnsley
Nov 10, 2018 rated it did not like it
Well. This is one of those things I never saw coming, that Mick Herron could write a book I didn't rate highly.

Sadly though, here it is. Possibly I've been spoilt by the incredibly brilliant Slough House series, where the writing is genius, the plotting is superb and you just devour them first page to last.

This is What Happened is a weird kind of hybrid, drawing on the "spy thriller" premise this author is so very good at but mish mashing it up with psychological thriller elements in Gone Girl
Lady Fancifull
May 04, 2018 rated it did not like it
An unexpected clunk of disappointment

I was looking forward to this Mick Herron stand-alone hugely. Herron was a wonderful discovery for me last year with the excellent Slough House series which my book club chose the first of, and which sent me screaming for the rest of the series like a banshee.

I did try the first of his Zoe Boehm series, but found it rather too bloody for my tastes and thought there were some coincidences which just seemed a bit much, though I did enjoy Herron’s ability to spr
Mary Lins
Nov 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: complete
Wow! Mick Herron's latest novel "This is What happened", is very very weird, but try to avoid any plot hints or comparisons to another very popular and well-received novel, and just surrender yourself and dive in! The first and last chapters read like a screenplay for an action-packed and suspenseful film, which this novel is sure to become.

Nondescript office worker Maggie Barnes, 26, has been recruited by a man named Harvey Wells, who says he's from MI5 (the British version of the CIA) to do s
Darius Ostrowski
Feb 04, 2018 rated it it was ok
Having read Mick Heron before, and based on all of the blurbs I've read, I was really disappointed in this book. It was well-written, but it definitely was not what I expected - maybe my rating is due to the false-advertising? If you're looking for a spy novel, read his other books - they're wonderful.
Ron S
Oct 09, 2017 rated it liked it
Rather than spoil it, let me just say surprise, not surprising, surprise and surprise again.

Psychological suspense set in post Brexit London. A fast, entertaining read. Maybe Brie Larson will star in the movie version.
Jun 05, 2018 rated it liked it
I have to admit I struggled with the first 20/30 pages of this book as I thought it was going nowhere. A young woman, Maggie Barnes is trying to plug in a flash drive to a computer system at her place of work - at night, when she's not supposed to be there. She spends a long time in a toilet, trying to avoid security guards and motion sensors. Then, she has to set off a fire alarm and things really get out of hand.

Gradually the story broadens out and we discover more about Maggie's background. S
Apr 25, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have read all of Mick Herron's Slough House series and adore them. They contain the similar level of clever and compelling prose, memorable characters, and deftly handled plots as John le Carré’s Smiley books. This, as you probably realise, is very high praise. I was therefore very keen to try some of Mick Herron's other work.

When I saw 'This Is What Happened' on Netgalley I was delighted to be given a copy to review.

'This Is What Happened' is very different to the Slough House books. A quic
May 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery
New mystery writer to me. Mr. Herron seems intrigued by the idea of including only the minimum of elaboration around the plot, as a measure for maintaining the pace and impact of the story. Very tight design, very lean narrative--(without coming across as that thrill-kill of the mystery genre-- the stylized scenario, where that minimalism is meant to translate as eerie or postmodern or something.)

Herron shifts the reader's perception of the players as we go, and also what's perceived by the othe
Jo Ann
It's best to go into this psychological thriller knowing very little* about the dark and twisted storyline. It reads like a novella or short story in the way it's broken into five parts with alternate POV's. The perfect antidote while awaiting the next Slough House novel.

*but fair warning: more Ruth Rendell than John le Carre
Elaine Tomasso
Apr 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
I would like to thank Netgalley and John Murray Press for an advance copy of This Is What Happened, a stand alone novel set in London.

Maggie Barnes is young, naïve, poorly educated, alone in London and ripe for adventure. This is what happened when she took up the challenge and went on adventure.

I thoroughly enjoyed This Is What Happened. Like all Mr Herron's novels there is a certain plausibility to the premise as some of it is based on a true case but, as usual, he pushes the boundaries and ta
Michael Martz
Feb 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I've become a big fan of Mick Herron's writing, mostly due to the Oxford and Slough House series. His latest standalone novel, 'This is What Happened', is a microcosm of his work: great writing, concise length, excellent characters, and a taut plot. I won't go into the story line at all due to the spoilage risk, but suffice to say it's an interesting spy story, that really isn't a spy story, based on people posing to be who they aren't. You need to read the book to find out what that means.....

Apr 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
Well, that took a turn! I was expecting a spy thriller, common woman gets in over her head, etc. But that's just the first section, and then turns into a very different kind of thriller. Great twists and turns and well-timed tension in the last chapter. I don't know if I liked it, but it was clever.
Dec 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
4.5 stars.
WHAT A BOOK. Plot twist after plot twist ... such a fun read.
The book I started was completely different from the book I just finished. Quick and exciting and surprising.
Feb 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
S C A R Y ! !

A world within a world within another world, much like Russian dolls. Nothing is what it seems to be.
Terrific. Very witty, even acerbically dry, but a great story that goes in directions you won't anticipate. Dandy!
Laura Newsholme
Jun 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
What a twisty turny book that takes you on a ride! This begins as a fairly standard spy thriller and then takes a real turn and what follows is a fascinating, multi-perspective tale of secrets, lies and the lengths people will go to. At first, I found the plot a little lacklustre, but once the first plot twist happened, I became really engaged. With the second plot twist, I just flew through the rest of the book, and really enjoyed every second. I will say that I did see both plot twists coming ...more
Aug 09, 2017 rated it liked it
Twisted spy thriller that kept me guessing (and turning pages) far into the night! I like Mick Herron's style and, once again, he has crafted a wild story featuring flawed characters who nevertheless kept me enthralled to the very last page.

My thanks to Mick Herron, Soho Press, Penguin Random House, and Paul Oliver for the ARC. The book will be available on January 30, 2018.
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Mick Herron was born in Newcastle and has a degree in English from Balliol College, Oxford. He is the author of six books in the Slough House series as well as a mystery series set in Oxford featuring Sarah Tucker and/or P.I. Zoë Boehm. He now lives in Oxford and works in London.