London Rules by Mick Herron
|London Rules by Mick Herron|
|Reviewer: Sue Magee|
|Summary: You don't get many thrillers which are laugh-out-loud funny, but London Rules ticks all the boxes. Great story, wonderful characters and sublime dialogue. Highly recommended.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 352/10 hours||Date: February 2018|
|Publisher: John Murray|
|External links: Author's website|
Claude Whelan, Regent Park's First Desk has insurmountable problems. He's charged with protecting a lame duck prime minister, but he's under fire himself. There's the self-publicising MP who orchestrated the Brexit vote and who might just be looking to take the PM's job from him. The MP's wife is a columnist for one of the tabloids who's having a go at Whelan in print and who will do anything to promote her husband's interests. Then there's the PM's favourite Muslim who's running for mayor despite having a very dark secret himself. As if this wasn't enough, Whelan's deputy, Lady Di Taverner is watching for his every stumble - and it's not so that she can catch him and help him to safety.
Now, before we go any further, you have to promise me something. You won't try and put real names to these fictional characters, will you, because that simply wouldn't be fair to those posh men in flashy suits who promised us cheap healthcare without a single thought for themselves back in 2016. Will you promise me? Please? Right, we can continue.
Over at Slough House, someone is trying to kill Roddy Ho. actually, that rather gives the impression that it's someone within Slough House who's trying to kill Roddy and whilst they might all feel that they have good reason to want him dead, they haven't got around to doing anything about it yet and they don't like it when an outsider tries to muscle in on the action. There's just one problem here: Roddy hasn't actually noticed that someone is trying to kill him and even when it gets to the stage of bullets and bodies flying through windows he doesn't realise where the real danger is coming from and quite what a mess he's in. And is the mess connected to the string of seemingly random terror attacks which the country is suffering? It would be good if you could be relieved that Jackson Lamb is in charge at Slough House, but it's difficult not to feel that he might be part of the problem. He does understand London Rules though - and the first and most important of these is 'cover your arse'.
There are not many thrillers which I describe as humour too, particularly when they're not spoofs intended to be funny. The dialogue here is exquisite and it's not just the odd phrase which delivers - it's consistent throughout the book. A lot of it is down to the excellent characterisation: Jackson Lamb is the sort of person you love to read about, but would probably hate to meet in real life, and every one of the supporting characters comes off the page and delivers. There's not a dud amongst them: well, not unless you count Roddy Ho, but let's not go there. The plot doesn't fall down either: I really wondered how it was going to work out.
This is the fifth Jackson Lamb novel but I found that it read perfectly well as a standalone. Reading back catalogues is something of a luxury for a book reviewer, but I've already bought Slow Horses, the first book in the series.
It lacks the humour (unless you laugh at the sex...) but we've recently enjoyed Trading Down by Stephen Norman.
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