DOLPHIN JUNCTION by Mick Herron (John Murray)
Mick Herron is at the forefront of contemporary spy fiction writers and his award winning Slough House series about Jackson Lamb, and his ‘slow horses’, has rightly attracted world-wide acclaim. His last book, Slough House, left readers keenly awaiting the next book in the series, and while that is not due until mid next year, we can at least make do with this exquisite collection of short stories.
Dolphin Junction brings together for the first time eleven short stories written over the past fifteen years. There is a good sprinkling of stories featuring Herron’s shrewd Oxford private detective Zoë Boehm and her hapless partner Joe Silverman, but there is also a nice selection of non-series stories, including the eponymous novella at the core of the book.
Spy fiction fans will greatly enjoy the Jackson Lamb story, which provides insight into his skills before he was assigned to Slough House, and the witty ‘An American Fridge‘, which cunningly upends expectations.
All the stories are well crafted, and display Herron’s trademark ability to mix humour and suspense in just the right quantities. They all have the twists and turns you expect in a good short tale of suspense and Herron has the magician’s ability to distract with the right hand while crafting a surprise with the left. The dialogue crackles, especially in the Zoë Boehm stories, and the clever use of motifs, such as the American fridge and Dolphin Junction, really highlights Herron’s ability as a writer.
None of the stories disappoint. My favourites, however, were the Cold War Jackson Lamb story, The Last Dead Letter, and the concluding entry in the collection, What We Do, which made me long for another Zoë Boehm novel.
Existing fans of Herron’s books, and newcomers, will greatly enjoy this collection, which would make a great Christmas present for the crime aficionado in your home.
Four and a half stars out of five!
Dolphin Junction was released in Australia and the United Kingdom on 11 November 2021. It will be released in the United States on 16 November 2021. Thanks to the publishers, Hachette in Australia, and the Canberra Weekly for an advanced copy of the book to review.
Here is a link to my review of Herron’s Slough House: https://murdermayhemandlongdogs.com/spies-spies-spies-three-recent-espionage-novels-by-mick-herron-jack-beaumont-and-michael-kurland/