'Mick Herron is an incredible writer and if you haven't read him yet, you NEED to' Mark Billingham
Dieter Hess, an aged spy, is dead, and John Bachelor, his MI5 handler, is in deep, deep trouble. Death has revealed that the deceased had been keeping a secret second bank account - and there's only ever one reason a spy has a secret second bank account. The question of whether he was a double agent must be resolved, and its answer may undo an entire career's worth of spy secrets.
The List is a novella in the Slough House series by British author, Mick Herron. John Bachelor does the milk run: he looks after those assets no longer active, retired spooks who have come in from the cold but might still have sensitive information in their possession. “…his role was to make sure they suffered no unwelcome intrusions, no mysterious clicks on the landline; above all, that they weren’t developing a tendency to broadcast the details of their lives to anyone who cared to listen. It sometimes amused Bachelor, sometimes depressed him, that he worked for the secret service in an era where half the population aired its private life on the web. He wasn’t sure the Cold War had been preferable, but it had been more dignified” One of his assets, Dieter Hess has died of natural causes, but now Regent’s Park has uncovered a bank account that no one knows about, and that needs a closer look. Eventually, Bachelor finds a hand-written coded list that might offer a clue as to what Hess was up to, and whether he was a double agent. Even Jackson Lamb’s almost cameo appearance in this small but excellent dose of Slough House confirms his “canny but obnoxious” description. It also introduces J K Coe, who joins the Slough House crew in a later book. The Kindle version also has a preview of another Herron book, Nobody Walks. Clever and funny and worth the cash outlay.
Mick Herron's six Slough House novels have been shortlisted for eight CWA Daggers, winning twice, and shortlisted for the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year three times. The first, Slow Horses, was picked as one of the best twenty spy novels of all time by the Daily Telegraph, while the most recent, Joe Country, was a Sunday Times top ten bestseller.
Mick Herron was born in Newcastle upon Tyne, and now lives in Oxford.