Spook Country by William Gibson

A book review by Bobulous.

Spook Country is a story split into three threads. The first centres around Hollis Henry, former lead singer of a popular rock outfit, now a freelance journalist. Hollis finds herself hired by a man called Bigend, who has a role for her to play, even if he doesn't seem entirely sure what the play is about.

The second thread focuses on Tito, obedient servant of his extended family and the powerful agents that they owe a debt to. Tito does what is expected of him, even when life and liberty are at risk, without requiring an understanding of machinations in which he is involved.

The third thread follows the brutish Brown and the benzo-addicted Milgrim. Brown is part of a group that are engaged in surveillance of Tito, intercepting their conversations. Milgrim is held against his will, useful to Brown as a translator, too reliant on the narcotics that Brown provides to make an escape.

All three threads converge on their shared goal, an object that has been moving around for months. Its location and contents known to a limited few, each group has a very different reason for wanting to get to it.

I enjoyed Spook Country. It's written without exaggeration or over-excitement, without any suggestion that the fate of the world hangs in the balance. A refreshing change from watching the news these days. William Gibson writes in a subtle, relaxed style that develops the story slowly, piece by piece. Even though things don't happen in a rush, there is always something going on that feeds the plot, but you may not appreciate that for the first few chapters.

The story is finely crafted, and it was satisfying to see the threads tie together in the final chapters, though I did find Bigend's motives a little odd. Overall, however, Spook Country makes a fine read to keep you entertained on the daily commute.