The fifth Slough House novel from the 'new king of the spy thriller' (Mail on Sunday)
SHORTLISTED FOR THE CWA GOLD DAGGER AND IAN FLEMING STEEL DAGGER
'The UK's new spy master' Sunday Times
London Rules might not be written down, but everyone knows rule one.
Cover your arse.
Regent's Park's First Desk, Claude Whelan, is learning this the hard way. Tasked with protecting a beleaguered prime minister, he's facing attack from all directions himself: from the showboating MP who orchestrated the Brexit vote, and now has his sights set on Number Ten; from the showboat's wife, a tabloid columnist, who's crucifying Whelan in print; and especially from his own deputy, Lady Di Taverner, who's alert for Claude's every stumble.
Meanwhile, the country's being rocked by an apparently random string of terror attacks, and someone's trying to kill Roddy Ho.
Over at Slough House, the crew are struggling with personal problems: repressed grief, various addictions, retail paralysis, and the nagging suspicion that their newest colleague is a psychopath. But collectively, they're about to rediscover their greatest strength - that of making a bad situation much, much worse.
It's a good job Jackson Lamb knows the rules. Because those things aren't going to break themselves.
Praise for Mick Herron
'The new spy master' Evening Standard
'Herron is spy fiction's great humorist, mixing absurd situations with sparklingly funny dialogue and elegant, witty prose' The Times
'Herron draws his readers so fully into the world of Slough House that the incautious might find themselves slipping between the pages and transformed from reader to spook' Irish Times
The best modern British spy series - Daily Express
Dazzingly inventive. Superbly orchestrated . . . Lamb - the most fascinating and irresistible thriller series hero to emerge since Jack Reacher - Sunday Times
A master of wit . . . Herron is difficult to overpraise - Daily Telegraph
Witty, sardonic and laugh-out-loud funny yet also thrilling and thought-provoking . . . Herron has often been compared with spy thriller greats John le Carre and Len Deighton but it is time he was recognised in his own right as the best thriller writer in Britain today. In a series that never lets its fans down, London Rules is the best instalment yet - Sunday Express, *****
London Rules confirms Mick Herron as the greatest comic writer of spy fiction in the English language, and possibly all crime fiction - The Times
London Rules epitomises precisely why Mick Herron's espionage novels are the new hallmarks of the genre. It's a rousing, provocative - and genuinely funny, at times - political thriller with a labyrinthine plot - Simon McDonald
London Rules may be the best Jackson Lamb thriller yet, and that's saying something, considering how brilliant the previous ones are - Mark Billingham
Superb . . . Herron has a lively satirist's eye and a comic sensibility that, in full flow, evokes early Tom Sharpe; these extravagant gifts are housed within a rock-solid plot involving a terrorist gang of unexpected origin acting out the moves of an MI5 playbook. The spectacular action set-pieces are expertly handled but they never overwhelm the gleeful cynicism of Herron's true subject . . . London Rule One: Cover your arse. - Irish Times
London Rules is the fifth book in the Slough House series by prize-winning British author, Mick Herron. During a sweltering summer in Slough House, the slow horses perform, with a minimum of enthusiasm, the tasks their boss, Jackson Lamb has dreamed up: Louisa Guy scans library records for borrowers of possible terrorist texts; River Cartwright pretends to compare rate payments with the electoral roll to reveal possible terrorist safe houses, while he worries about his demented grandfather; and J.K. Coe composes fake emails for agents who need to disappear after interacting too closely with the general public. Still on the wagon, Catherine Standish mops up after Lamb while also monitoring the psychological temperature of their reduced number, in particular: grief over those recently lost, the effect of (now-drug-free for 62 days!) Shirley Dander’s anger management course, the stability of the ever-silent, traumatised Coe, River’s concerns for the O.B., and Roddy Ho’s continuing over-inflated belief in his own popularity. Meanwhile, in the real world, a terrorist attack on a Derbyshire village leaves twelve dead, a pipe bomb at a zoo has a similar death toll, and the discovery of a bomb on a train averts another potential disaster. As Regent’s Park searches for terrorists, First Desk Claude Whelan also has to cope with the PM’s demands for certain background checks, an MP with PM ambitions, the MP’s tabloid journalist wife and of course, his Second Desk, Lady Di Taverner, who has designs on his job. When there’s an attempt on Roddy Ho’s life, the slow horses are at first incredulous, then puzzled. Coe seldom contributes, but when he does open his mouth, it’s worth listening, even if Lamb’s sharp mind is already a long way towards figuring it out. And once again, the slow horses are out on an op. Apart from a generous helping of snappy dialogue, fists, knees, elbows, a wrench, a knife, a coat-hanger, guns, a bottle of bleach, and a tin of paint come into play. As always, Jackson Lamb is rude, inappropriate, sharp and sly. He has a lot of fun with addressing the unfortunately-named Devon Welles. This instalment sees the first of the London Rules, “cover your arse” adhered to by many players, and ultimately, Ho maintains his oblivion regards the general opinion of his appeal. The idea that “…Lamb will go to any lengths to protect a joe, but would watch in mild amusement if the rest of the world hanged itself” is soundly reinforced. Herron’s plot is imaginative but easily believable, with the odd twist to keep it interesting; there’s plenty of humour, much of it black, that will have readers snickering, giggling and laughing out loud. This fifth instalment of the series, while it contains some spoilers for earlier books, can easily be read as a stand-alone, but with a series as entertaining as this one, why would you? Another excellent dose of British spy fiction.
Mick Herron's six Slough House novels have been shortlisted for eight CWA Daggers, winning twice, and shortlisted for the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year three times. The first, Slow Horses, was picked as one of the best twenty spy novels of all time by the Daily Telegraph, while the most recent, Joe Country, was a Sunday Times top ten bestseller.
Mick Herron was born in Newcastle upon Tyne, and now lives in Oxford.