'The most enjoyable spy novel in years' Mail on Sunday
Shortlisted for the CWA Ian Fleming Steel Dagger Award
'The UK's new spy master' Sunday Times
You don't stop being a spook just because you're no longer in the game.
Banished to Slough House from the ranks of achievers at Regent's Park for various crimes of drugs and drunkenness, lechery and failure, politics and betrayal, Jackson Lamb's misfit crew of highly trained joes don't run ops, they push paper.
But not one of them joined the Intelligence Service to be a 'slow horse'.
A boy is kidnapped and held hostage. His beheading is scheduled for live broadcast on the net.
And whatever the instructions of the Service, the slow horses aren't going to just sit quiet and watch . . .
Herron may be the most literate, and slyest, thriller writer in English today - Publishers Weekly
Stylish and engaging - Washington Post
A funny, stylish, satirical, gripping story - Guardian
The most enjoyable spy novel in years - Mail on Sunday
A useful corrective in the era of television's superheroic Spooks, Herron's superb novels suggest that the most important secret spies are hiding is, that they are just like us - Daily Telegraph
I was delighted to discover that this is merely the first in a captivating series about Slough House, where the intelligence services' misfits and screw-ups become the useful tools of Herron's quite magnificent creation, Jackson Lamb. This is an old-school espionage thriller where foreign powers might be a danger, but the true enemies are sitting at another desk - Herald
I was delighted to discover Mick Herron's riotous Slow Horses series about the black sheep of MI5 - Big Issue
The first of his series about MI5 and a character called Jackson Lamb, one of the great monsters of modern fiction. He's a wonderfully cynical writer and there's a lot of dark humour in it. I'm not clever enough to write this sort of thing - Daily Express
Slow Horses is the first novel in the Slough House series by British author, Mick Herron. Slough House is a repository for inconvenient or incompetent spooks: the spies who have caused embarrassment by leaving a sensitive disc in a tube station or had an affair with the Venezuelan ambassador’s wife, or closed down Kings Cross Station in a training exercise. The “Slow Horses” are banished from Regent’s Park to Slough House where the hope is to bore the dead weights into jumping ship, to get them to quit the Service, ground into submission by routine tasks. The current staff of nine are assigned riveting assignments like combing Twitter feeds, monitoring overseas student attendances, scanning through mobile phone conversations and comparing real estate purchases with immigration records, by their boss, Jackson Lamb. Does this make for a harmonious workplace? Indeed it does not! They may all be equally frustrated at their exclusion from real ops, but they barely tolerate each other, and their dislike for their boss is thinly (if at all) veiled. When the newsfeeds show a youth of Pakistani extraction being threatened with beheading by an obscure right-wing extremist group, slow horse River Cartwright immediately makes a connection to the right-wing former journalist whose garbage bag he was assigned to examine as a harmless errand for the Park. Hungry for action, River decides he has to do something, but his covert surveillance does not end well. Before long, the Slough House crew find themselves in a race against time to save the boy (with their talents? Unlikely!) and to avoid being scapegoats for an op gone horribly wrong (virtually impossible!). Herron gives the reader a fast-paced spy novel of a very different sort. The premise is original, and the execution is inspired. The characters are all credibly flawed, their dialogue is full of dry wit, and there is plenty of humour, most of it very black and very British, with an abundance of laugh out loud moments. There are twists and red herrings and the reader will find it hard not to cheer these misfits on as they do their best. Readers will be pleased to learn there are three and a half further volumes of this series for their entertainment and enjoyment. A brilliant read!
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.