Miskatonic University Press

Yellow Car again again

john.finnemore literature mick.herron

Further to the Yellow Car in London Rules and Yellow Car in Joe Country there’s another Yellow Car in the new Slough House novel by Mick Herron, Bad Actors:

There was a game you could play, if you were into childish shit. Roddy wasn’t—a surefire way to tell a busy dude from a lightweight: no time for pissing about—but he’d heard the others at it, and what you did was, you saw a yellow car, and you mentioned it. End of. It beggared belief, what entertained the hard of thought.

One of the many things Herron is great at in this series is shifting from one character’s internal voice to another. The books are made up of sections done in free indirect speech, with one section from Shirley Dander’s point of view told in her style (probably angry), the next from Louisa Guy’s in her voice, and so on. The most funny are Roddy Ho’s sections, from one of which this quote is taken. He’s a great hacker but a complete loser otherwise, who in his internal monologue thinks of himself as a badass super-spy and refers to himself as the Rodmeister or HotRod or, one scene where he’s cosplaying Star Wars, HoBi-Wan Kenobi. Some of the funniest bits in the books are when we’ve been seeing things through the Rodster’s eyes and then suddenly switch to someone else’s point of view and see him through their eyes.

There’s one main character whose inner voice and mental states we never know: Jackson Lamb. He’s always putting on a show. A very times we see that it is a show, and we realize the strength of this revolting persona he’s built, and some of what it’s hiding, but we never get inside. We do know one thing, though: you don’t fuck with his joes.