Sunday, 17 November 2019
MICK HERRON - THE CATCH (2020)
If life in the Intelligence Service has taught John Bachelor anything, it's to keep his head down. Especially now, when he's living rent-free in a dead spook's flat.
So he's not delighted to be woken at dawn by a pair of Regent's Park's heavies, looking for a client he's not seen in years. John doesn't know what secrets Benny Manors has stolen, but they're attracting the wrong attention. And if he's to save his own skin, not to mention safeguard his living arrangements, John has to find Benny before those secrets see the light.
Benny could be anywhere, provided it serves alcohol. So John sets out on a reluctant trawl through the bars of the capital, all the while plagued by the age-old questions: Will he end up sleeping in his car? How many bottles of gin can he afford at London prices?
And just how far will Regent's Park go to prevent anyone rocking the Establishment's boat?
A rather topical offering from Mick Herron with an 80-odd page novella, involving the hapless "milkman," John Bachelor in an operation reaching to the top of the service and Lady Di - Diana Taverner.
No plot spoilers here, so I'll not really mention it, suffice to say I really liked it. A spy op in the capital, a missing thief, some carelessness from Bachelor, a threat to livelihood, an ultimatum, a desperate search, a plea for help, some credibility lent, a journo, a shit storm, and a sting in the tale.The whys and the wherefores and the detail you can discover if you read it yourself.
On point throughout, a blend of one-liners, wit and shenanigans and double dealing. Jackson Lamb gets a name check but no more. I really feel for Bachelor. He's the lowest rung on the intelligence service ladder. He's been part-timed and is living in a dead man's flat, flying under the radar, or at least he thought he was. I'm hoping he continues, not necessarily to profit, as I don't think his star is ever going to ascend but to survive. Sad, desperate and down-trodden, dogged by ill-luck, supplemented by poor choices and rather too fond of imbibing, he's never dull.
Once this one ends, there's a thirty-forty page intro to Herron's This is What Happened. I have a copy somewhere and after reading the opener I ought to get to it.
5 from 5
Mick Herron has been enjoyed before, but only a couple of his Slough House offerings and some connected novellas. I really should get some more under my belt in 2020.
Slow Horses (2010), Dead Lions (2013), The List (2015), The Marylebone Drop (2018) have all been enjoyed.
Read - November, 2019
Published - 2020
Page count - 128
Source - Edelweiss - Above the Treeline early reviewer site, thanks to Soho Press
Format - ePub read on laptop