Tuesday 21 March 2017



Winner of the CWA Gold Dagger Award

A BBC Front Row best crime novel of the year

A Times crime and thriller book of the year

'The finest new crime series this Millennium' Mail on Sunday

London's Slough House is where washed-up MI5 spies go to while away what's left of their failed careers. But now the 'slow horses' have a chance at redemption.

An old Cold War-era spy is found dead on a bus outside Oxford, far from his usual haunts. As the agents dig into their fallen comrade's circumstances, they uncover a shadowy tangle of ancient secrets that seems to lead back to a man named Alexander Popov, and a decades-old conspiracy with a brand-new target: London's newest, tallest skyscraper . . .

Second book in the Slough House spooks series and another riveting read.

If I’m honest I found it a fraction less enjoyable than the first one – Slow Horses. The plot was a bit of a stretch for me, though the start point to it and the set-up itself were really enjoyable. I just wasn’t totally convinced by the whole shebang.

Lies, duplicity, a retired Russian agent, an old lag from the Berlin days, a Regents Park go-getter, the Slough House misfits, a new Russian billionaire in town and a sleepy town in the Shires.

Great characters, though in truth we have one amazing stand-out and a bunch of able supports. Jackson Lamb is truly disgusting. He farts, he burps, he’s rude and he’s cruel – particularly when offering his assistant, Catherine – a recovering alcoholic a drink, knowing damn well the consequences if she accepts. I’m not too sure whether he doesn’t care or if he cares and everything’s a test.

Lamb stood, gazed at the nearest tree as if in sudden awe of nature, lifted a heel from the ground and farted. “Sign of a good curry,“ he said. “Sometimes they just bubble about inside you for ages.”

“I keep meaning to ask why you’ve never married,“ River said.

One thing for sure, he is very, very funny and when he’s off page, I miss him. Towards the end of the book he’s off page a lot.

Lots to like. I’m looking forward to the last couple of books in this series, though I’m not going to rush to get to them. I’ll savour the anticipation of reading them just a bit longer.

4 from 5

Mick Herron has his website here.

My Slow Horses – review is here.
Blog friend Tracy from Bitter Tea and Mystery has reviewed Dead Lions here.

Read in January 2017
Published - 2013
Page count - 350
Source - owned copy bought secondhand a year or two ago
Format - hardback


  1. It does sound interesting, Col. And I do lit a bit of wit in a novel. I know what you mean about a bit unbelievable, though.... Still, I'm glad you enjoyed it.

    1. Margot, I have enjoyed both his books so far and he's someone I would recommend trying. I did wonder if his wit and some of his references are peculiarly "British" but Tracy has enjoyed him, so I guess the books journey well across the pond.

  2. Col – Now that I’ve sampled the humor, I need to add Herron to the top of the TBR pile. Thanks.

    1. Elgin, he's well worth a read. I hope you give him a try and enjoy him.

  3. Thanks for linking to my post. I don't know that I said as much in my review, but I liked the first one better also. But both were good, and I have already purchased Real Tigers (and a novella that is between Dead Lions and Real Tigers).

    1. Tracy, I'm looking forward to the next couple. I've just finished the mid-point novella yesterday. Not amazing but still a great read.

  4. Haven't read this one yet - I think - I have real difficulty matching up stories with the books. But that's my only complaint: Herron is a great writer and Jackson Lamb a wonderful character. Like you I am spacing them out to enjoy them more. Don't want to finish too soon..

    1. Jackson Lamb is one of my favourite characters of recent times. No, I couldn't see that you had read this one - I checked!