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Spook Street (Slough House, #4)
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Mick Herron Buddy Reads > Spook Street by Mick Herron - SPOILER Thread

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Susan | 9314 comments Mod
Welcome to the fourth in the Jackson Lamb series; published in 2017.

WINNER OF THE CWA IAN FLEMING STEEL DAGGER

'Mick Herron is an incredible writer and if you haven't read him yet, you NEED to' Mark Billingham

Never outlive your ability to survive a fight.

Twenty years retired, David Cartwright can still spot when the stoats are on his trail.

Jackson Lamb worked with Cartwright back in the day. He knows better than most that this is no vulnerable old man. 'Nasty old spook with blood on his hands' would be a more accurate description.

'The old bastard' has raised his grandson with a head full of guts and glory. But far from joining the myths and legends of Spook Street, River Cartwright is consigned to Lamb's team of pen-pushing no-hopers at Slough House.

So it's Lamb they call to identify the body when Cartwright's panic button raises the alarm at Service HQ.

And Lamb who will do whatever he thinks necessary, to protect an agent in peril . . .

Please feel free to post spoilers in this thread.


Pamela (bibliohound) | 320 comments I LOVED this one (after finding the previous book slightly disappointing - by which I mean a low 4 star!) I thought the dynamics between the characters worked much better, the dialogue was punchy, the pace was fast and consistent, and J K Coe's contribution was a great addition.

Not sure I believed the plot, but I enjoyed it anyway.


Tracey | 236 comments Mick Herron really doesn't mind killing off characters does he? Fast paced, very enjoyable book.

Pamela - I agree that the plot was a little far fetched, but it was nice to have the OB in a starring role. Very glad that Catherine returned too, she is a good contrast to Jackson Lamb.


Pamela (bibliohound) | 320 comments I also think Catherine's return made a difference, Tracey.

The confrontation between Shirley and JK was one of my favourite scenes, Herron is good at creating scenes that seem funny on the surface, but are quite grim when you think about them.


Roman Clodia | 722 comments I have to admit this is my least favourite of the series (but the least favourite Herron is still pretty darn good!) I get bored with the OB (or indeed other older characters with memory issues) and just didn't believe the wacky plot at all.

On the other hand, JK Coe is my favourite character, Shirl and Marcus are on top form, and Slough House under siege showcases Herron's unique brand of humour in the midst of trauma. Lamb has some fine moments!


Tracey | 236 comments Will be interesting to find out the consequences of JK Coe's actions. Hopefully he will be able to return to Slough house.


Sandy | 2501 comments Mod
I really believed that River had been killed, and in such a tragic accident, and went to bed very upset. Didn't quite cry into my pillow but it was a close thing.

Did anyone catch why Lamb knew it wasn't River? (Other than being omniscient of course.)


message 8: by Jill (last edited Apr 12, 2019 07:45AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jill (dogbotsmum) | 1813 comments Yes I realised that Lamb knew it wasn't river, when he made the remark about tweezers, although how exactly he knew , I have no idea. I was pretty upset until then. Certainly made me read on.
I wasn't sure how Lamb knew the OB was at Catherine's though.
JK Coe is definitely a scary character compared to any of the others, and it will be interesting if he is ever explained, and what his future holds.


Sandy | 2501 comments Mod
We have met JK before, perhaps in the earlier novella. If I owned it I would reread it to refresh his back story.


Susan | 9314 comments Mod
Lamb certainly does seem to know everything, doesn't he? I enjoyed Catherine Standish, Ho's imaginary conversations with his girlfriend and JK Coe finishing off what Shirley was talked out of. And Marcus - oh, Marcus! I hate it when we lose a Slow Horse... That danger is always there, isn't it?

Do you think there is a character that Herron wouldn't kill? I say that, as there are rumours of a death in the forthcoming novel.


Sandy | 2501 comments Mod
I have just borrowed The List, the earlier novella, for a JK refresh (I hope).


Roman Clodia | 722 comments Susan wrote: "Do you think there is a character that Herron wouldn't kill?"

I don't think the series could survive without Jackson Lamb - but everyone else is on borrowed time.


Susan | 9314 comments Mod
I dread losing River, but agree that it is all too possible. I also think that Lamb will survive.

Sandy, I like both the novellas a lot. Enjoy your re-read.


Roman Clodia | 722 comments Oh, funny, as I find River the most characterless of the characters - If someone has to go, I'd rather it were him than anyone else. But that Mick Herron has a devious mind, as we know, and it's just impossible to predict what he's got up his sleeve :)


Susan | 9314 comments Mod
I suppose River was the character we met first and I think of him as a sort of glue in the books, along with Lamb, of course, and Catherine Standish, while other characters revolve in and out. I would be devastated to lose Ho too.


message 16: by Sandy (last edited Apr 12, 2019 01:28PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Sandy | 2501 comments Mod
I agree with your sequence, Susan. So my list, most necessary at top, is Lamb, River, Catherine then Ho. I see promise in JK but need to know him better. I feared Marcus' demise when he hoped to gamble his way out of trouble but now Slough House needs more muscle.

I rather see the series as River's coming of age story but he is not maturing very fast. And I expect Herron has entirely different intentions .


Susan | 9314 comments Mod
River is a touch impetuous...


Frances (francesab) | 340 comments I've just finished this one, and was also quite upset when I thought that River had been killed. I actually really liked the character of the OB and the rather prominent role in this novel, and hope he isn't going to end up in some depressing nursing home going forward.

I'm going to have to do a reread soon as I'm having trouble keeping all the threads straight-particularly the Lady Di bits. Will Peter Judd return, do you think?


message 19: by Bicky (new)

Bicky | 332 comments Sandy wrote: "I have just borrowed The List, the earlier novella, for a JK refresh (I hope)."

Susan wrote: "River is a touch impetuous..."

Now (there was a hint in Dead Lions) we know that River rightly belongs in Slough House!


message 20: by Bicky (new)

Bicky | 332 comments Sandy wrote: "I have just borrowed The List, the earlier novella, for a JK refresh (I hope)."

Great memory. Coe is there, all right.


Susan | 9314 comments Mod
Frances, British politicians being what they are, I have no doubt Peter Judd will return.

Looking forward to London Rules. Is anyone planning to read the upcoming Joe Country Joe Country (Slough House #6) by Mick Herron ?

Should I open a thread when it is released?


message 22: by Bicky (new)

Bicky | 332 comments Susan wrote: "Frances, British politicians being what they are, I have no doubt Peter Judd will return.

Looking forward to London Rules. Is anyone planning to read the upcoming Joe Country [boo..."


Yes. Please do.


Susan | 9314 comments Mod
OK, I will do so. After all, people can join in whenever they want to. We must just make sure we keep spoilers to the spoiler thread, as we don't want to give anything away :)

Perhaps, after that, I thought it would be good to do Nobody Walks Nobody Walks by Mick Herron which has links to the Slough House series?


Susan | 9314 comments Mod
Plus, I forgot, we also have to do The Drop The Drop (Slough House, #5.5) by Mick Herron

Lots to look forward to!


message 25: by Sandy (last edited Apr 26, 2019 07:44AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Sandy | 2501 comments Mod
I am on my libraries wait list for Joe Country, but will probably need a reread before the next book, though it s unlikely to happen. Like Frances I'm having trouble with Lady Di's up and downs. There might be a market for Cliff Notes versions.

And I also will miss River's visits to the OB.

Cliff Notes: (from Wiki)
CliffsNotes are a series of student study guides. The guides present and create literary and other works in pamphlet form or online. Detractors of the study guides claim they let students bypass reading the assigned literature. The company claims to promote the reading of the original work and does not view the study guides as a substitute for that reading.


message 26: by Jill (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jill (dogbotsmum) | 1813 comments I intend to read Nobody Walks after The Drop.


message 27: by Bicky (new)

Bicky | 332 comments Susan wrote: "OK, I will do so. After all, people can join in whenever they want to. We must just make sure we keep spoilers to the spoiler thread, as we don't want to give anything away :)

Perhaps, after that,..."


So the order would be:
1. London Rules
2. The Drop
3. Joe Country
4. Nobody Walks

Right?


message 28: by Bicky (new)

Bicky | 332 comments I wish that he would get rid of Lady Di, who is a really inept villain (more like Bond villains rather than Le Carre). Of course that might not be good for Slough House.


message 29: by Bicky (new)

Bicky | 332 comments I am sure it has been explained somewhere, but why does Slough equal to Outer Siberia?


Susan | 9314 comments Mod
Joe Country is out in June, so I think this might work better:

1. London Rules (May)
2. Joe Country (June)
3. The Drop (July)
4. Nobody Walks (August)

Slough is outside of London and has a large, Asian population. It's actually a really nice place to live and was voted one of the best places to live in Britain. The problem is that, like Milton Keynes, it looks a bit, well, bland. It is functional, rather than pretty.

It's really a commuter town. A lot of people who can't afford London house prices live there and commute. Also, it is quite near Windsor (people who lived in Windsor demanded a different postcode, as they didn't like the association of people thinking they lived in Slough!). With Eton and all those pretty, market towns, a lot of snobbish people are not fond of Slough, even though the rail links are better. Oh, also, it is on a lot of flight paths and there is a lot of noise from planes, making the house prices more affordable.

Actually, I know some people who live in Slough and they love it. It's for the practically minded :)


Roman Clodia | 722 comments It also suffers from Betjeman's 1937 poem called 'Slough': he was railing against increasing industrialization and cramped living conditions which were obviously not unique to the place. It's pretty classist and snobby as a poem, now, though:


Come, friendly bombs, and fall on Slough
It isn't fit for humans now,
There isn't grass to graze a cow
Swarm over, Death!

Come, bombs, and blow to smithereens
Those air-conditioned, bright canteens,
Tinned fruit, tinned meat, tinned milk, tinned beans
Tinned minds, tinned breath.

Mess up the mess they call a town -
A house for ninety-seven down
And once a week for half-a-crown
For twenty years,

And get that man with double chin
Who'll always cheat and always win,
Who washes his repulsive skin
In women's tears,

And smash his desk of polished oak
And smash his hands so used to stroke
And stop his boring dirty joke
And make him yell.

But spare the bald young clerks who add
The profits of the stinking cad;
It's not their fault that they are mad,
They've tasted Hell.

It's not their fault they do not know
The birdsong from the radio,
It's not their fault they often go
To Maidenhead

And talk of sports and makes of cars
In various bogus Tudor bars
And daren't look up and see the stars
But belch instead.

In labour-saving homes, with care
Their wives frizz out peroxide hair
And dry it in synthetic air
And paint their nails.

Come, friendly bombs, and fall on Slough
To get it ready for the plough.
The cabbages are coming now;
The earth exhales.


Susan | 9314 comments Mod
Milton Keynes is similar, I think. A bit new built, a bit soulless. Bletchley Park is there and we went a while ago. Driving through the town, it is full of roundabouts! Honestly, it's like driving through a child's idea of how to set up roads :)


message 33: by Bicky (new)

Bicky | 332 comments Susan wrote: "Joe Country is out in June, so I think this might work better:

1. London Rules (May)
2. Joe Country (June)
3. The Drop (July)
4. Nobody Walks (August)

Slough is outside of London and has a large,..."

But doedn't The Drop predate Joe Country? As it has only 112 pages we could give it the first two weeks of June, specially as the expected date for Joe Country is 13th June.

And thanks for the Slough explanation.


Roman Clodia | 722 comments Haha, and I remember the infamous concrete (?) cows in Milton Keynes - I wonder if they're still there?


message 35: by Jill (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jill (dogbotsmum) | 1813 comments Susan wrote: "Joe Country is out in June, so I think this might work better:

1. London Rules (May)
2. Joe Country (June)
3. The Drop (July)
4. Nobody Walks (August)

Slough is outside of London and has a large,..."


Both GR and FF have London Rules as book 5 and The Drop as book 5.5 Followed by book 6 Nobody Walks


message 36: by Bicky (new)

Bicky | 332 comments Roman Clodia wrote: "It also suffers from Betjeman's 1937 poem called 'Slough': he was railing against increasing industrialization and cramped living conditions which were obviously not unique to the place. It's prett..."

It might be so but it is so effective in its purpose, though he may not have had a clue to what the bombs would actually do.


Tracey | 236 comments I am happy to confirm that the concrete cows in Milton Keynes still very much exist!

(I am originally from Bletchley, with family & friends still in MK, so am there relatively frequently)

Happy to know Joe Country has a June publishing date.


Susan | 9314 comments Mod
Nobody Walks is linked to the series, but in a roundabout way, like the novellas. Are we saying that we want to read two books in a month?

Option 1
1. London Rules (May)
2. The Drop (June)
3. Joe Country (June)
4. Nobody Walks (July)
This means that we read Joe Country when it comes out and add on Nobody as an extra.

Option 2
Otherwise we can read them in the correct order:
1. London Rules (May)
2. The Drop (June)
3. Nobody Walks (June)
4. Joe Country (July)

This could give people more chance to get hold of Joe Country.
I have assumed that we do the novella alongside a novel.

However, if some of us read Joe Country when it comes out, it may mean that there is no time to read Nobody Walks in the same month; depending upon reading commitments.

Which do you prefer - Option 1 or Option 2. Let me know below and I'll go with the majority.


Tracey | 236 comments I'd prefer option 2. Gives me time to see if my library will get a copy of Joe Country.


Susan | 9314 comments Mod
Option 1:
Option 2: 1 vote

Thanks, Tracey


message 41: by Bicky (new)

Bicky | 332 comments Another vote for Option 2.


message 42: by Jill (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jill (dogbotsmum) | 1813 comments As Joe Country isn't out until half way through June,option 2 would give more time for people to acquire it. So option 2 another vote


Pamela (bibliohound) | 320 comments I'll also vote for Option 2


Susan | 9314 comments Mod
OK, option 2 it is (although personally I can't wait for July to read Joe Country!) :) I will amend the buddy read list later on.


Susan | 9314 comments Mod
We have updated the Buddy Read threads.

Has anyone got hold of a review copy of Joe Country yet? It hasn't appeared on NetGalley that I can see.


message 46: by Margaret (last edited Feb 15, 2020 06:30PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Margaret | 3 comments Jill wrote: "Yes I realised that Lamb knew it wasn't river, when he made the remark about tweezers, although how exactly he knew , I have no idea. I was pretty upset until then. Certainly made me read on.
I was..."


Hi, Jill! I'm almost a year late to the discussion, but I've just read it and I'm not sure, but I think Lamb knew it likely wasn't River because of the second gunshot (just editing to say I took a look again and Emma tells him there were two gunshots after he identifies the body, so maybe it wasn't that--though he could have known what two gunshot wounds would look like himself without being told?). He might also have guessed because the shooting took place in the bath?


Margaret | 3 comments Sandy wrote: "I agree with your sequence, Susan. So my list, most necessary at top, is Lamb, River, Catherine then Ho. I see promise in JK but need to know him better. I feared Marcus' demise when he hoped to ga..."

That's just about my list too, Sandy, though I'd have River tied with Lamb--I get the sense it's River's coming of age story too (and won't say too much about them here, but I think the later books bear that out with his character development) and I love seeing these different sides to him.

He's impetuous and makes bad mistakes but he also practices some good tradecraft (which even Lamb grudgingly admits!) and is also a good man (looking after his grandfather, visiting Spider) but not in a goody two shoes kind of way--he can also be a bit of a jerk. I love that Louisa commented on his vulnerability in the first book, too. I feel like we're seeing more of that as the series goes on, but there's a glimpse here too--I was a bit worried that it sounded like River was more or less resigned to drowning after struggling a bit when Frank threw him in the Thames.


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