This Is What Happened
by Herron, Mick

Living alone in a London sublet, a woman with virtually no friends or family is recruited by MI5 to help thwart an international plot that puts all of Great Britain at risk.

Mick Herron was born in Newcastle and has a degree in English from Balliol College, Oxford. He is the author of ten other novels, Slow Horses, Dead Lions, Nobody Walks, Real Tigers, Spook Street, Down Cemetery Road, The Last Voice You Hear, Why We Die, Smoke and Whispers, and Reconstruction, as well as the novella The List. His work has won the CWA Gold Dagger for Best Crime Novel, the Steel Dagger for Best Thriller, and the Ellery Queen Readers Award, and been nominated for the Macavity, Barry, Shamus, and Theakstons Novel of the Year Awards.

*Starred Review* A profoundly disturbing tale from CWA Gold and Steel Daggers winner Herron about an insufficiently socialized young woman who was never warned to be careful what she wished for. Twenty-six-year-old Maggie Barnes is, sadly, one of those people you would never look at twice, the kind of person who could vanish from the face of the earth without anyone taking notice. She lives a solitary, more or less hand-to-mouth existence in a London that is singularly bleak. There is an aching absence of color and texture, except for a telltale yellow scarf. Maggie believes she has been recruited for MI5 by a man she meets at a local café. Is this, at last, a chance to make her life matter? Of course not, but for someone as desperate as Maggie to find a way out of the emptiness that engulfs her, there's no choice but to grab what might be a lifeline. For the reader, the gradual realization of what is actually happening to Maggie brings to mind Miranda Grey's ordeal in John Fowles' chilling The Collector (1963). Herron's tight prose is laced with black humor, without one unnecessary word. His mastery of narrative pacing shines in a dim and stifling setting where time is being deliberately held still. Any action is slowed down by the confusion and hesitancy of the characters. Fans who miss the startling and compelling psychological suspense of Ruth Rendell will relish this unsettling tale. Copyright 2017 Booklist Reviews.

The latest stand-alone from Herron couldn't be more different from his bustling, often brutally funny series about the government agents at Slough House (Spook Street, 2017, etc.). This pared-down exercise in suspense is just plain brutal."I wish this were like the films," Harvey Wells tells Maggie Barnes, the mouse he's recruited to run a delicate undercover errand for MI5. All Harvey wants Maggie to do is install an eavesdropping program in one of the computers in Quilp House, where she works in the bowels of the post office. And it's for the good of her nation and the world, since the functionaries of Quilp House, it seems, are actually working for the Chinese government. But Harvey can't offer Maggie moment-by-moment instructions or surveillance or backup; if she gets caught or anything goes wrong, she's on her own. This opening movement recalls the recruiting of the suicidal heroine of So Many Steps to Death 60 years ago, but Herron has some fantastical twists in mind th at Agatha Christie never dreamed of. Something does go wrong; Maggie does get caught; and although Harvey rescues her, her life as she knows it is essentially over. To say more would spoil some of the surprises planted at regular intervals throughout the hyperextended period following Maggie's single attempt at counterespionage. Suffice it to say that Herron spins a remarkable, if often blankly incredible, tale whose dramatis personae are limited to three characters, one walk-on, and a few others dimly or harshly remembered. Given Herron's outrageous premise, the complications are managed with delicious control. Only the last act stumbles, because the climax is the only part of this story that's remotely predictable. Copyright Kirkus 2017 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.

Terms of Use   ©Copyright 2019 Follett School Solutions