Book Review: Mick Herron – The Catch (Slough House novella 3)

At lunchtime, I went into town for the first time since the most recent lockdown restrictions began to be eased properly on Monday, and my first visit was the charity bookshop in my local High Street. A real gem of a place, you can get new books in perfect condition for just £2 – and there’s someone really good ones in there too.

I forgot that the most recent installment in the Slough House stories even came out last year – ‘The Catch’ is the third in the spin-off novella series featuring carer of retired spooks John Batchelor, as he navigates more and more problems through his miserable life, and tries to avoid between eaten, swallowed up and spat out by the head of Regent’s Park, ‘Lady Di’ Taverner.

Now, this is Herron at his finest (writing-wise at least) – his trademark wit and satire mixed in with references to the rest of his created universe and the real world – not least Prince Andrew, here – while crafting a wonderful blend of oddball characters, ridiculous situations and surprising plot twist. However, for the publishers John Murray to stick a £10 price on a 100-page book is a cheek, and it’s definitely not worth that.

It is worth a couple of quid though, and if you’ve read the rest of the books it’s a pleasant read. Not a huge amount happens and I don’t really see this one as any more than a stop-gap until book seven of the main series finally arrives this year, but it’s not bad. I’m happy I picked it up in a charity shop, though, and I’m even happier that my collection is, currently, complete. A solid three and a half star book.

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