Consider yourself kidnapped, held hostage, spirited away, your time ransomed.
Welcome to JOE COUNTRY where you are kept captive by a compulsively readable narrative that sweeps in like a rattlesnake and fangs it for over four hundred fabulous pages.
The sixth in the series of so called Slow Horses thrillers, JOE COUNTRY starts ominously with the death of operatives that have so far managed to survive the series. Their identities are kept secret, however, another layer of suspense heaped on by author Mick Herron, that wicked agent of insomnia and page turning acceleration.
The surging confidence in its storytelling swathed in bright shafts of dry wit makes JOE COUNTRY the equal of its predecessors, a sustained and seething thriller that walks both sides of Spook Street on a tightrope of intrigue, espionage and subterfuge.
I could divulge the plot but then you would have to kill me for spoiling the exhilarating thrill of the story, a narrative that capers, strides, bucks and gallops through every provocative page, peppered with acerbic, sometimes appallingly politically incorrect diatribes by the Slow Horses squadron leader, the incongruously named, Jackson Lamb.
Lamb leads to the slaughter any vestige of sensitivity to his employees, his diatribes unfiltered truth serums roughly injected by needle sharp invective.
In JOE COUNTRY, the bread of espionage is leavened with the circuses of violent spectacle, hazard seasoned with humour, real world politik enlivened with a pervasive imagination.
The CWA Ian Fleming Steel Dagger is an annual award given by the British Crime Writers’ Association for best thriller of the year. It is given to a title that fits the broadest definition of the thriller novel; these can be set in any period and include, but are not limited to, spy fiction and/or action/ adventure stories. Ian Fleming said there was one essential criterion for a good thriller – that “one simply has to turn the pages”; this is one of the main characteristics that the judges will be looking for.
Judges look no further.
JOE COUNTRY by MICK HERRON is published by John Murray.