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Book DetailsISBN: 9781616955878
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Book Review: Reconstruction by Mick Herron - Reviewed by CloggieA (04 Feb 2019)
Reconstruction is the fourth novel by award-winning British author, Mick Herron, and his first stand-alone novel. When Louise Kennedy turns up for work at South Oxford Nursery School on an April Tuesday, she's expecting the usual mundane work day. What she's not expecting is for Eliot Pedlar and his twin boys to be forced into the school's gate at gunpoint by a desperate young man.
As he aims his gun at these four hostages, the dark-skinned man asks Louise if she is the “lady”. Soon after the school’s cleaner stumbles into this fraught scene, Ben Whistler, an MI6 accountant is summoned. It seems that he is a colleague of one Miro Weiss, another Service accountant and the gunman’s lover, now missing for three weeks, along with a large sum of money. (And you thought accountants were boring!)
While the local police have a sniper aiming a weapon at the door, information about both the gunman and the hostages is not being shared by the Service. But Heckler and Koch in the gunman’s hand belongs to the now hospitalised Neil Ashton, one of the Service’s Dogs, and Top Dog, Bad Sam Chapman is hanging around the area like a nasty smell. Are the hostages random, or are they somehow involved? The title is relevant in a myriad of ways, including that this is a reconstruction of the day’s events, and what led up to them, in intricate detail. Fans of Herron’s novels will appreciate his technique, his slow build up to a dramatic climax, although the minute level of detail, repetition and measured pace may irritate some readers. Still, every so often, he cuts the tension with a drop of black humour. There are plenty of red herrings, and there are so many twists towards the end that it might be wise to book the chiropractor.
Bad Sam Chapman, whom fans of Herron’s Jackson Lamb series will recall from Spook Street, is a key character and this book details the circumstances of his dismissal from the service: his descriptor is well deserved (or is it?) Jed Moody’s actions will see him later placed at Slough House (Slow Horses) and Nick Duffy gets a mention, so it’s almost a prequel for this series. For the astute reader there is also a subtle reference to Herron’s Oxford Investigations series. While there is a lot more tension in this book than in the Jackson Lamb books, and not quite as much humour, it’s still an excellent dose of British spy fiction.
Mick Herron was born in Newcastle and has a degree in English from Balliol College, Oxford. He is the author of two books in the Slough House series, Slow Horses and Dead Lions, as well as the stand-alone thriller Nobody Walks. He now lives in Oxford and works in London.
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