Spook Street is the fourth in the Slough House (or Slow Horses) series by Mick Herron. Slough House is the dumping ground for Secret Service employees who have seriously failed on the job but cannot be sacked, the bunch of misfits and discontents are plagued with mind numbing tasks and tormented by their boss Jackson Lamb in an endeavour to get them to take early retirement. You never get to find out what Lamb did to get sent to Slow House but he clearly carries some punch with the top level of the Service that keeps him in his job and protects his staff.
The novel starts with an ageing retired spy who is suffering from the onset of dementia, an attempt on his life that brings into question how the Service would deal with a spy who became a potential risk, a suicide bomber in a shopping centre and the murder of one of the Slow Horses. Spook Street combines a very contemporary plot with lots of allusions to current politics and security concerns with a cover up within the Service of a misjudged and out of control operation that dates back nearly 30 years and inevitably lots of ‘office’ politics.
Mick Herron is writing some of the best modern spy thrillers in the UK. Gripping, clever, unsettling, highly believable and drily humorous. I can’t recommend him enough.