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Slow Horses (Slough House) Paperback – March 11, 2014
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Frequently bought together
"It's just great fun."
—NPR, Morning Edition
“A funny, stylish, satirical, gripping story . . . Memorably seedy characters, sharp dialogue, complex plot. I’m hooked.”
“This is blackly funny, tense and worryingly plausible. The most enjoyable British spy novel in years.”
—Mail on Sunday, Five-star Review
"[A] deliciously sleazy and sophisticated spy thriller."
—The Irish Times
"These are terrific novels. The writing is very good. The sense of humour is there, and there's a certain amount of skepticism as well, which keeps you wanting to read."
—J.D. Singh, CBC's The Next Chapter
"Subtle, detailed and utterly convincing."
—The Crime Review (UK)
“Slow Horses is a fine thriller . . . it’s also a wonderfully funny, farcical, deeply cynical skewering of politics, bureaucrats, turf wars, and the Great Game.”
Praise for Mick Herron
"Mick Herron never tells a suspense story in the expected way . . . In Herron's book, there is no hiding under the desk."
—The New York Times Book Review
"The sharpest spy fiction since John Le Carré."
—NPR's Fresh Air
"Stylish and engaging."
—The Washington Post
"[A] masterful thriller . . . The intricate plot, coupled with Herron's breezy writing style, results in superior entertainment that makes most other novels of suspense appear dull and slow-witted by comparison."
—Publishers Weekly, Starred Review
"Like a good movie . . . grabs the reader from the first page."
—Booklist, Starred Review
About the Author
- Publisher : Soho Crime; First Edition (March 11, 2014)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 329 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1616954167
- ISBN-13 : 978-1616954161
- Item Weight : 10.4 ounces
- Dimensions : 5 x 0.91 x 7.48 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #1,972 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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I also grow tired very quickly of books that over-describe every detail about every room, eveyone's clothes, and every single scene. This book was spot on in the way you learned about the atmosphere and each character.... selecting unique points about them that let your imagination fill in the rest of their stories. The writing definitely was British, but just enough to feel the authenticity of you being in Britian hearing the locals around you. As the pace and action picked up, it always stayed believeable and made sense for the characters and their roles.
One note. It definitely helped to read this particular book on my Kindle, because there were many characters introduced along the way, who would then pop up again later. And I definitely used the X-ray feature to jog my memory about the initial intro of them. It's not essential to have, but I enjoyed being reminded of how each character was introduced, because it was usually by way of an interesting tidbit about them or just in passing with a descriptor that caught my attention. So I definitely will continue reading the series and glad it is one. I was left very curious about how things would continue to go with each of the characters in future books. And I don't think it's going to be a typical cookie-cutter series where each book has Hero A confronted with a case to solve and manages it in the nick of time with the help of trusty Sidekick B. Cant wait for more.
I enjoyed this tremendously. It was like going home to all the wonderful spy novels written years ago because Herron got everything right for me. The atmosphere within a super secret spy organization, the interactions between the agents, the unraveling of details to help explain why an assignment had gone the way it had and the climbing over other agents in order to improve career opportunities, all of it was there. These characters have come fully formed from the author's imagination and I am definitely looking forward to seeing how they react together in the next book. Thank goodness I have four more to read!
Herron has shot himself in the foot in one way, though: sale of film rights seem unlikely to me. It would take a brave producer to have it filmed, and an even braver actor to take the lead role. Antisocial, scruffy, farting, scratching, drinking, smoking Jackson Lamb has to be the most unlikely protagonist (“hero” is simply not the right word) of any spy series, ever. Perhaps a TV series could be managed, but you're looking at something with the social skills of Doc Martin, the dress sense of Vera and the personal hygiene of roadkill.
One bit of advice: read them in order. There is continuity of essential personnel from book to book, but there are casualties as well as replacements along the way, and back stories may be difficult to pick up or understand if you don't know who is (or was) who.
I await the next Slough Street book eagerly.
But those who persevere are in for the reward. There is indeed a plot. In fact more than one, intertwined as it were. And in looking back one can see that all that character development was worthwhile, or maybe just setting up the reader for the wonders that follow.
Bottom line, in retrospect, a great read. The American reader may well want to brush up on British slang, for there are many insights conveyed through words unfamiliar to most of us.
I am now headed for the next two books in the series, Dead Lions and Real Tigers.
Top reviews from other countries
The book starts slowly. So slowly it is easy to give up on it before the plot gets going; I know I came close. At first, there is little to enjoy about these frustrated characters and their lives spiraling in ever decreasing circles of bitterness and mutual loathing. There are lots of interior monologues, lots of seeing the same thing from different angles and a certain amount of self indulgence on the author's part as he sets the scene with wordy relish. Herron's mannered style can grate on occasion but I'm glad I persevered. All these disparate strands come together and the story comes to life in the second half of the book. By the end I was cheering them on.
Do read if you like intricate plots, downbeat characters and unexpected heroes. Don't read if you are looking for action men, femmes fatales, car chases, pacy plotting or glamour.
I loved Jackson Lamb. Even though his behaviour is often really gross. I ought to find him totally offensive etc. etc. But his refusal to conform is heroic. And I suspect, as more of his back story is revealed in the follow on books to 'Slow Horses', I might forgive Mr Lamb for farting so much.
All the characters in 'Slow Horses' are full of life. I especially loved Roddy, Catherine and Hassan. And River and the O.B. Plus the politician who must be Boris Johnson. There's a great scene set in his Islington kitchen. It's all laughter and tears and the messy reality of human life. And spying. I'm sure spying has to be as dysfunctional as everything else in twenty first century London. Where I live and work btw.
Compulsive reading for me. I'm already half way through the second book in the series!
I don't want to be too critical as at times this is close to John le Carre in establishing mood, and certainly has some Smiley-esque characters. It's quite a feat to combine 21st century security risks and technology with Cold War noir, and by and large it works well enough for me to have a stab at Volume 2, which I just ordered. So far, so good.