Read Slow Horses by Mick Herron Online


Slough House is a dumping ground for British intelligence agents who’ve screwed up a case in any number of ways—by leaving a secret file on a train or blowing a surveillance. River Cartwright, one such “slow horse,” is bitter about his failure and about his tedious assignment transcribing cell phone conversations. When a young man is abducted and his kidnappers threaten toSlough House is a dumping ground for British intelligence agents who’ve screwed up a case in any number of ways—by leaving a secret file on a train or blowing a surveillance. River Cartwright, one such “slow horse,” is bitter about his failure and about his tedious assignment transcribing cell phone conversations. When a young man is abducted and his kidnappers threaten to broadcast his beheading live on the Internet, River sees an opportunity to redeem himself. Is the victim who he first appears to be? And what’s the kidnappers’ connection with a disgraced journalist? As the clock ticks on the execution, River finds that everyone has his own agenda.From the Hardcover edition....

Title : Slow Horses
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781569479018
Format Type : ebook
Number of Pages : 320 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Slow Horses Reviews

  • Veronica ⭐️
    2018-11-21 19:44

    Slow Horses is Herron’s first book in the Slough House series, recently re-released in conjunction with the release of book 4, Spook Street.After a mission gone terribly wrong River Cartwright is sent to Slough House, a place where tasks that didn’t matter were preformed by people that didn’t care. Where alongside a pre-digital overflow of paperwork, a post-useful crew of misfits can be stored and left to gather dust. The story is told with a wry wit, in metaphors, retrospect and hypotheticals with plenty of laugh out loud moments and dark humour.Slow Horses is an introduction to the main characters, the cast outs, at Slough House and their boss Jackson Lamb. The characterization is brilliant as Herron brings together a mismatched bunch of has-beens, loners that haven’t quite given up on the hope of one day returning to Regents Park.Under all the character development is a great plot with backstabbing, twists, conspiracy theories, double crossing and buck passing. It’s compelling and edgy and pulls the story along with a rush of adrenaline as the pace quickens and events spiral out of control.Wanting to read more of Jackson Lamb and his Slough House crew will be difficult to resist.

  • PattyMacDotComma
    2018-11-12 21:16

    5★“Always, in railway stations, there was this sense of pent-up movement. A crowd was an explosion waiting to happen. People were fragments. They just didn’t know it yet.”This is not only spooks and spies and intrigue (and it definitely is all that), it is very funny and entertaining! It’s also a wonderful combination of old school sleuthing and networking and never burning bridges (well, not completely) and brave-new-world technology like CCTV mobile (cell) phones and database hacking. All wrapped up in some delicious writing like this.“. . . the grey isn’t grey but black with the stuffing knocked out of it.”and“. . . she turned to find him reaching for her arm. The look she bestowed upon him would have stuck six inches out the back of a more sensitive man. ‘Not a good time, Roger.’”There are lots of characters, and I’ll admit I had to backtrack a few times to remember who Hobbs and Hobden and Ho were, but I got the hang of it soon enough. Ho is the computer geek of the slow horses.“Ho was usually first in, often last out, and how he spent the hours between was a mystery to River. Though the cola cans and pizza boxes surrounding his desk suggested he was building a fort.”And there did need to be a bunch of characters since some were stationed in the real headquarters, Regent Park, and our “heroes” are the spies who’ve been relegated to a pre-retirement holding pattern in Slough House. Slough rhymes with cow in British English (or with bough as in the bough that will break in the rock-a-bye-baby lullaby, but I digress). Close enough to house to make Slow Horse a kind of rhyming slang nickname that is their “department”. (Americans will have to make a mental adjustment not to hear slough as sloo. But I digress again.)Pre-retirement is what the government intends this place to be — a job so boring and demoralising that people will retire, saving the embarrassment of being sacked. Sometimes it works that way, sometimes not. So far, nobody’s ever been promoted back up the ranks, though. They are located in a less-than-desirable area in an old building.“The front door, as stated, lurks in a recess. Its ancient black paintwork is spattered with roadsplash, and the shallow pane of glass above betrays no light within. An empty milk bottle has stood in its shadow so long, city lichen has bonded it to the pavement.”Got it? If you’re a slow horse, this is your lot. There are many reasons the men and women there have been demoted, and we learn early that River Cartwright (so named by his rebellious mother) was saved from being sacked outright because of the OB, or the Old Bastard, as River fondly refers to his mother’s father, who raised him and in whose footsteps he's chosen to follow. River is still close to his grandfather, who was a spook of some renown, and it’s his reputation that stands between River and the door.“Without this connection, River wouldn’t have been a slow horse, he’d have been melted down for glue.”The boss of all of these losers is Jackson Lamb, and there is no love lost between Lamb and any of his underlings. “Lamb’s laugh wasn’t a genuine surrender to amusement; more of a temporary derangement. Not a laugh you’d want to hear from anyone holding a stick.”During a meeting, River contemplates what he’d really like to do.“River had measured the distance between Lamb’s chair and the window. That blind wasn’t going to offer resistance. If River got the leverage right, Lamb would be a pizza-shaped stain on the pavement instead of drawing another breath;”The main story is a kidnapping with a video circulating of a young man, head covered by a hood, being threatened with being beheaded in 48 hours. There is a disgraced journalist who seems to be involved in some dodgy activities, and the powers-that-be want to know what he’s doing. Some of the slow horses are surprisingly involved in an actual operation for once in a very long time, but things don’t work out all that well.When the action heats up, and I start thinking to myself “How did she get in there? Where did the gun come from? How did they spot him?” Herron switches back to a previous scene which explains it. It’s done so easily and subtly that it doesn’t interrupt the action, but it makes it very satisfying to feel that there are no loose ends.I loved it and have already started Dead Lions, #2 in the series, so many thanks to NetGalley for the copy from which I’ve quoted and to Hachette Australia who have reissued the first five in the series before #5 is published on February 13.Excuse me now while I go back to catch up with the slow horses and their old-word expertise and new-world tech! (I should add that this can be read as a stand-alone without needing to follow up.)

  • Marita
    2018-12-14 00:37

    ”Congratufuckinglations.” River Cartwright has made it to Slough House. Slough House for slow horses. Slow horses who messed up big time like leaving discs of information marked “Top Secret” on the train only to be handed in to the BBC and broadcast to the nation. Not a smart move if you are working for MI5! But this wasn’t River’s mess. No, the opening sentence of this novel is: ”This is how River Cartwright slipped off the fast track and joined the slow horses.” And then proceeds to tell you, the reader, about River’s spectacular blunder and subsequent sideways career move - one which is a downward spiral and an encouragement to depart without fuss. A job at Slough House could mean transcribing mobile phone conversations, picking through garbage or being in charge of the shredder or photocopier. Fortunately for River his grandfather had been in the spook business, so at least River has a job. He might well have ended up as an “exit-coordinator at a club” - a ‘bouncer’ to the likes of us. But River can be quite upbeat, and responds to “How’s your career looking?’” with “‘Well, I don’t have an arse two inches in front of my nose, so my view beats yours.’”Jackson Lamb, a human wolf disguised as lamb, heads up the motley crowd of failures. A fat, unkempt, rude crude man, BUT a very savvy fat, unkempt, rude, crude man. Lamb does not mince his words, and he eats agents for breakfast. Meet the other misfits, including computer geek Roderick Ho: “Roderick Ho knew exactly what sins had brought his colleagues to Slough House; the precise nature of the gaffes and blunders that had condemned them to the twilight of the second-rate.” Ho doesn’t like people, but he LOVES computers, and heaven help those who cross him - in a blink of an eye he can remorselessly wreck lives by tweaking a wee bit of data. Luisa Guy on the other hand does some virtual surveillance and thinks to herself: “To pass for real in the world of the web she’d had to forget everything she’d ever known about grammar, wit, spelling, manners and literary criticism.” You might also run into some of the Dogs, the Service’s internal security: “The Dogs were kennelled at Regent’s Park, but had licence to roam.” "It didn’t matter which rung of the ladder you were on: when the Dogs appeared uninvited, your first reaction was guilt.” Regent's Park is where the successes spend their time propelling themselves along the swords planted in their colleagues’ backs. Then there are also the Achievers, namely the guys sporting balaclavas, who are also known as the SWAT team. However, in between back stabbing and wasting tax payers’ money there is work to be done. In this instance a young British born man of Pakistani origin had been kidnapped, presumably by yobbos from the extreme right, and it so happens that the unfortunate young man is related to someone very important. What follows is a comedy of errors, but are the slow horses of Slough House quite as slow from their stalls as they are purported to be? Are these has-beens redeemable?This novel is an hilarious sendup of the British Secret Service. You can expect the best of British humour, as well as plenty of suspense.

  • Phrynne
    2018-11-23 00:44

    Well I have to give this book five stars because I read it in one day when I should have been doing other things, and now I really want to move straight into book 2Not just another mystery/thriller, Slow Horses is totally original in style and content. The main characters are apparently a bunch of losers and misfits which made it all the more exciting when they tried to pull together and achieve something. And of course from the reader's perspective it was anyone's guess if and when they were ever going to win.River Cartwright (yes, there were lots of jokes about his first name) managed to be a very appealing lead character and I hope he features in subsequent books. His boss, Jackson Lamb, is also more than meets the eye and is well versed in coming out on top regardless of events around him.This book is clever, funny, well paced and always interesting. I believe I have found myself another good series!

  • Carolyn
    2018-11-16 20:33

    I'm so glad I finally got around to reading the opening novel of this series. Friends kept telling me how good it was and boy were they right! I loved the writing - wry and sharp, often darkly humorous and deprecating of the failed spies from MI5 who end up at the bottom of the heap, the so-called 'slow horses' working at London's Slough House. They've all done something irrecoverable and cringe-worthy, from leaving classified information on a train to spectacularly failing a terrorist training exercise as River Cartwright had, one which would have resulted in hundreds dead and millions of pounds in damages had it been real. “That was the true purpose of Slough House. It was a way of losing people without having to get rid of them, sidestepping legal hassle and tribunal threats.”Ruling over all the misfits at Slough House, is Jackson Lamb. No one knows what Lamb did to end up at Slough House all those years ago. An ex field agent during the cold war, he's described as fat, lazy, unwashed with stained, greasy clothing but able to move rapidly with stealth when required. He also knows a lot of secrets and how to manipulate people.Once condemned to work at Slough House there was no going back, the hope of MI5 being that agents would get bored to death of dead end paper shuffling and leave of their own accord. But some still hoped to redeem themselves and stayed on looking for that miracle opportunity. River Cartwright is one such hopeful who has his grandfather's spectacular cold war record in the service to thank for not being thrown out after his training debacle. When a young Pakastani student is taken captive by a white supremacist group with threats to behead him, River thinks there is a connection with a journalist they have had under surveillance. What River and the rest of the slow horses doesn't realise is the extent of the games being played behind their back until they are thrown in at the deep end. Full of twists and turns, with the devious second in command at MI5, Diana Taverner (nicknamed 'Lady Di') playing dangerous games and using the slow horses for her own purpose, the novel is a delight as the slow horses try to find the kidnapped man and Jackson Lamb wakens from his long sleep to show his true talents. I'm so glad to find this re-invention of the spy novel, previously done so well by LeCarre, Forsyth and Deighton and to see the baton passed to a worthy successor. Now, for the next book in the series!

  • Susan
    2018-12-02 23:23

    This is the first book in the Slough House series. I have mean to try this series for a long while and, now that I have finally got around to starting it, I am sure I will be reading on. Author Mick Herron has taken the traditional spy story, given it a unique slant and, with many nods to classic spy novels, has created his own world; sly, darkly funny and utterly British.Slough House is the dumping ground for members of the intelligence service who have messed up. Rather than sack them, those at Regents Park hope that doling out endless administrative tasks will lead the now defunct spooks, to take a job in security, or elsewhere. However, most of those side- lined to this department of, so-called, ‘Slow Horses,’ cannot envision a life outside of the service and dream of being of use again. The reasons why these former agents end up here vary; alcoholism, leaving top secret information on a train, or making a mistake in a training operation are some of the reasons given, although we learn these may not all be the agents fault. River Cartwright certainly does not feel it was his fault that he has ended up at Slough House. His grandfather was a famous, much revered, ex spook, and so he dreams of another chance. It does seem that everyone at Slough House has pretty much given up though and the sarcastic, slovenly, Jackson Lamb, who presides over his small kingdom, seems to accept the status quo as much as anyone. However, when a young man is kidnapped off the street and appears on the internet, with those holding him threatening to behead him online, the Slow Horses become involved in the case. Can they throw off their mantle as failures and save the day?This is clever, realistic, well plotted and funny. I liked the characters, the plot twists and the setting. I am a fan of spy novels and, if you like Le Carre or Eric Ambler, you might like to give this a try. It is a modern take on the spy novel; with a realistic setting, where politics and office politics combine and where Herron takes all our preconceptions and turns them on their head.

  • Brenda
    2018-11-27 00:43

    This was a pretty clever book. Slough House is an old derelict building. Its occupants are slow horses, spies who have screwed up in various ways and been demoted. They are essentially paper pushers doing mundane work. They are a motley crew who are not friends, very suspicious, always alert and aware, and bitter. When one of them is sent on a field op, albeit just to pick up a bag of trash outside a disgraced journalist's home, mental alarms begin going off. They are never let out in the field.By my count, there are ten slow horses including the boss. Most of their downfalls are learned over the course of developing the characters. They may be screw-ups, but I liked most of them a lot. When an online video of an abducted young Pakistani man is discovered, the slow horses start questioning and discovering things. They can't help it; it's who they are. They are spooks and they want to be back in MI5.The writing style was interesting and included quite a bit of dry humor and sarcasm. There were a few uniquely British references that I didn't get, but I don't believe that ruined my reading experience. In fact, I'm eager to see what happens with the slow horses in future books!

  • Brenda
    2018-12-04 19:28

    3.5★sAfter River Cartwright made several wrong decisions - or someone laid the blame squarely on his shoulders - he was told to report at Slough House, the place all misfits, rogues, and unreliables were sent to lick their wounds while working at mundane tasks. The boredom was horrific; the anger at what had happened ate at River, day in and day out...Jackson Lamb, boss of the slow horses (those same has-been spies from MI5) didn't seem to garner respect from any of the people under his command - few knew why he was chief of London's Slough House. Would he have a chance to show his true colours? Perhaps the abduction of a young student and the terrorists' threat of beheading could give him as well as River and the team a chance to redeem themselves.Slow Horses by Mick Herron is the first in the Slough House series, and a more different and intriguing plot I haven't read in awhile. After an explosive start, it settled into a slow and plodding plot, with twists, conspiracy theories, blame cast on others and more. Slow Horses is definitely worth the read and I'm looking forward to book #2. Recommended.

  • Gary
    2018-11-21 20:14

    This is the 1st book in the 'Slough House' series by author Mick Herron. Slough House is a dumping ground for British intelligence agents who have messed up a case. The "slow horses," are given menial tasks rather than be trusted on bigger cases. This is the second book I have read from this series having inadvertently started reading this series with the second book. I hesitated starting this book having not been completely blown away by the first book., but found this one personally a lot more enjoyable.In this novel a young man is abducted and his kidnappers threaten to broadcast his beheading live on the Internet, Slow Horse River Cartwright sees an opportunity to redeem himself. i really enjoyed this book and having experienced a slow start with the first novel intend to continue reading this series.Maybe the characters are starting to grow on me as well as getting used to the authors style. I would like to thank Net Galley and John Murray Press for supplying a copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.

  • Manda Scott
    2018-11-14 22:15

    So.... I listened to BBC Radio 4 Front Row last night, and there was Mick Herron, talking about his Slow Horses series and he mentioned Len Deighton who was one of my writing heroes in my youth... and the wonder of e-living is that I was able to download it on the Kindle and ... lose an evening. I know something of this standard is a year's hard writing and there's something sacrilegious about reading it in slightly under 6 hours, but Mick, if you're reading this and it's any consolation, I switched off the light about 3am. and heck, but this is good. I thought Night Heron by Adam Brookes signalled the new Le Carré (because that's our benchmark, like it or not) and Night Heron is good - but this... this is outstanding. Truly, it has the feel of an industry insider, but one with a sharp, deep, compassionate - and utterly ruthless - view of the good and the bad of his profession. The washed-up has-beens of the Slow Horses of Slough House are humanised and given depth so that when they begin to shine it is not implausible, but a huge and glorious relief. I won't go through the plot again, others have done so - I will only say: start it some time before 8pm if you don't want to wake feeling as if you've been sandbagged. And read it with joy that there is still some truly great writing in the world.

  • Sharon Bolton
    2018-12-08 18:44

    River Cartwright made a big mistake. As big as they come. Heading up an MI5 operation to apprehend a known terrorist, River made the wrong call. Or maybe he was fed the wrong information. That’s what he claims, but it makes no difference. The Op goes badly wrong, and River’s career hits the pan. Fortunately for River he has connections. His grandfather is one of the most famous and revered ‘spooks’ of all time, and sacking his much-loved grandson isn’t really on the cards. So River, rather than being shown his P45, is consigned to Slough House, a despised, far-bastion of ‘Five’ that fills its day with tedious and menial administrative tasks. Enter a cast of characters that can best be described as losers and misfits. All of them have secrets. None of them like each other. There’s the ex-alcoholic secretary, the socially inept IT expert, the couple who think they’re having a secret affair. This motely crew is headed up by overweight, ill-mannered slob, Jackson Lamb. Every Slow Horse has done something wrong, something that led to their exile, and finding out what that something was occupies both them and us for much of the book. Few residents of Slough House (a group known as the Slow Horses) last long. Boredom and frustration gets to them sooner or later. They resign and disappear. Problem solved. So, when a young man is kidnapped and held by terrorists, who threaten to execute him publicly at a given time if their demands aren’t met, you’d better hope his fate is in more competent hands than those of the Slow Horses. Except, that’s exactly how it turns out and, guess what, the Slow Horses turn out to be pretty sharp operators after all. They kick ass! Herron spends some time building up their characters but it proves to be time well spent because as we near the climax, the emergence of ninjas from the pantomime horse costumes isn’t just believable, its hugely satisfying. Slow Horses is clever, original, thoroughly researched and the most enormous fun. Highly recommended.

  • Andrea
    2018-11-25 21:36

    River Cartwright is following the family tradition, serving his country by joining MI5. All is going well until a spectacular stuff-up during an assessment exercise sees him relegated to the 'Slow Horses' of Slough House; where agents are sent to work on non-operational tasks until they either die of boredom or quietly resign.That was the true purpose of Slough House. It was a way of losing people without having to get rid of them, sidestepping legal hassle and tribunal threats.The Slow Horses are a bunch of misfits, to say the least, and their boss Jackson Lamb is (outwardly) a truly odious character.When a video loop appears on the BBC website one morning, showing a British youth trapped in a cellar, establishing a timeline for his beheading, the Slow Horses find themselves unprecedentedly in the middle of a delicate operation.Considering this was published in 2010, I found it somewhat prophetic in relation to a few things that are happening in our world right now - Brexit, the rise of the far right, and some of the acts of terrorism that have become all too common in recent times. One scene in particular had me raising my eyebrows.‘Because we both know the tide’s turning. The decent people in this country are sick to death of being held hostage by mad liberals in Brussels, and the sooner we take control over our own future, our own borders—’and soon afterYou’re PM material. With you at the helm, this country can be great again.This book had all the action and treachery you would hope for in a spy thriller, and on top of that there was a good dose of humour, too. Happily, it's #1 in a series, which I will be continuing to read.

  • Wanda
    2018-11-25 17:17

    Probably more like 3.5 starsThis was an excellent "it's too hot to think too hard" summer book. If you are into spy fiction, you will probably enjoy this novel.The slow horses are the intelligence agents who have screwed up big time and have been exiled to Slough House to grind away at boring statistical tasks until they quit or die. When River Cartwright gets a small surveillance task to perform, he actually starts paying attention to the currents flowing around him and notices a lot of details that start knitting together into a somewhat coherent whole. What he does with this information and deciding who to trust turns this into a page-turner. No international espionage, but plenty of "this branch against that branch" sort of conflict.Perfect for light summer reading.

  • Maxine (Booklover Catlady)
    2018-11-19 19:15

    I was thrilled when I had my wish granted by the Publisher via NetGalley to read this book. I was expecting some great thrills. Sadly I got to 40% through and just felt like I was going nowhere with this one. The first chapter and opening had seemed really promising but this one just did not float my boat. With quite an unusual writing style this book may be one of those that some indeed love and adore. It's certainly not a terrible book. I just could not get into it and wondered where it was going. It wasn't enough buzz to hold me to keep going. I am not going to give it a rating as I did not finish. Disappointed. :-(

  • Marianne
    2018-12-09 00:32

    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!

  • Julie Davis
    2018-11-26 17:23

    Julie left a top secret recipe on the bus and Scott spectacularly screwed up a training exercise, which is why their new office is in Slough House next to the other slow horses. They have to whisper to talk about Slow Horses because they don't want Lamb to hear. Episode 131 of A Good Story is Hard to Find podcast.Original review below.=======Slow Horses builds from the idea that the punishment for spies who have failed at their jobs is to send them to Slough House where they do paperwork. The idea is logical but humorous at the same time. They spend all their time longing to get back in the field.When a young man is abducted and his kidnappers threaten to broadcast his beheading live on the Internet, everyone from Slough House is intensely interested. Then they realize that they will simply be part of the viewing public since they aren't really spies anymore. Except, of course, that wouldn't make much of a story. River Cartwright sees this as an opportunity to redeem himself and soon the rest of the Slow Horses are pulled into the effort.My favorite character was the Slough House boss, Jackson Lamb, who makes sure his crew knows they are mediocre, doesn't care a flip for them, and yet commands their respect because they all know he was a big field agent back in the day. His sardonic comments never failed to crack me up.This was simply terrific. The humor is understated, the writing evokes London wonderfully, the plot twists like a pretzel but never loses you, and the suspense ratchets up so that by the end I was simply longing to see villains get their comeuppance.I listened to Sean Barrett's reading, which was simply wonderful.

  • Alex Cantone
    2018-11-28 17:22

    If Moscow rules meant watch your back, London rules meant cover your arse. Moscow rules had been written on the streets, but London rules were devised in the corridors of Westminster, and the short version read: someone always pays. Make sure it isn’t you.The “Slow Horses” at Slough House are sidelined from the British intelligence service, send there by Regents Park for various indiscretions, personal vices or incompetence, their career paths to go no further….except when they may prove useful….The book opens with River Cartwright’s fall from grace in a bungled counter-terrorism training exercise. Or was he set up to fail? We are treated to a fleeting view of Slough House as seen from the upper deck of a passing London bus, which had a surreal “Under Milk Wood” feel to it. Slowly the past deeds of the staff, toiling at mundane tasks, are brought to light, all nursing their grievances at working under former “joe”, the burned out, overweight spook, Jackson Lamb.Neatly hidden among all this, a male student at Leeds University, of Pakistani parents, is abducted off the streets by a white supremacist far-right group who claim they will behead him and post it on the internet. But is the kidnap random or targeted due to his uncle in Pakistan holding high office in the military?This book is a slow burner, lacking the intensity of “Spook Street”, and compounded for this reader by the absence of chapter numbers adding to a sense of drift. After two hundred pages the action really kicks in, conspiracies abound, and the machinations of Second Desk at Regents Park, Diana Taverner, are matched only by the wily Jackson Lamb. An op has gone wrong, and the protagonists are playing by London rules:Watch your arse. The misfits at Slough house need to work together if they are to save not only the student, but their own jobs as well.

  • Nigeyb
    2018-12-12 20:21

    I was looking for a series to fill the John Le Carré’s Smiley-sized hole in my world of literature, and so I followed up a strong recommendation from GoodReads friend Susan to try some Mick Herron, and I’m very glad I did. The "slow horses" of the book’s title are the intelligence workers at "Slough House" (sounds like slow horse, geddit?), an anonymous building where disgraced and fallen spies are sent to undertake menial and soul destroying tasks until they either resign or retire. Whilst aspects of the plot stretch credibility - one development is up there with the moon landings being faked, or 9/11 was an inside job - what makes Slow Horses so much fun, and so compelling, are the diverse and memorable characters who inhabit the tale, and the superb writing, which is full of wit, invention and a wonderful turn of phrase.Jackson Lamb, who runs Slough House, is superb - a modern day Falstaff who hides his razor sharp mind and limitless resourcefulness behind the appearance and manners of an uncouth slob - and was once a very senior intelligence operative who knows every trick in the book. The supporting cast are all, to varying degrees, interesting and compelling, and it is no surprise that Mick Herron has written more books about these characters.I eagerly anticipate more books by Mick Herron and will prioritise the rest of the Jackson Lamb novels before moving on to his other work.4/5Slow Horses (Slough House #1) by Mick Herron

  • Col
    2018-11-28 17:39

    Synopsis/blurb….Let us be clear about this much at least: Slough House is not in Slough, nor is it a house...Slough House is Jackson Lamb's kingdom; a dumping ground for members of the intelligence service who've screwed up: left a secret file on a train, blown a surveillance, or become drunkenly unreliable. They're the service's poor relations - the slow horses - and bitterest among them is River Cartwright, whose days are spent transcribing mobile phone conversations. But when a young man is abducted, and it's threatened that he'll be beheaded live on the Internet, River sees an opportunity to redeem himself. Is the victim who he first appears to be? And what's the kidnappers' connection with a disgraced journalist? As the clock ticks on the execution, River finds that everyone involved has their own agenda ...And unless the slow horses can prove they're not as useless as they're thought to be, a young man's death is going to echo around the world.Praise for Mick Herron:'Mick Herron never tells a suspense story in the expected way, which is why his new novel, Reconstruction, reads as much like a puzzle mystery as it does a thriller ...unpleasant things are bound to happen, and they do - but not until Herron has finished surprising us . ..there is no hiding under the desk' - "New York Times".'This is one of these novels where you read it, not just to see what happens at the end, but to see what happens on the very next page' - "Booklist".'Good characterisation, dialogue and well-paced narrative make this confident first novel frighteningly plausible' - "Sunday Telegraph". 'Tight, literary and cliche free' - "Publishers Weekly".'Stylish and engaging' - "Washington Post".-------------My take.....I do like the espionage book…….intrigue, secrets, duplicity, danger, loners and consequences. This book just reaffirmed everything I love about this particular genre.I could ramble on and reconstruct events and give a bit of the narrative, but I won’t. Suffice to say – absolutely bloody amazing. Character, plotting, pace……who is playing who here? Jackson Lamb is probably one of the most interesting characters I’ve read about all year. A fat washed up alcoholic has-been….or is there more than meets the eye? Candidate for most useless boss of the year, until his boss starts messing with his team.Interesting evolution of the "slow horses" during the course of the book, from isolated and insular and separated from each other at the start, to actually working as a unit by the end. Dead Lions is the next in the Jackson Lamb – Slough House series. Can’t wait.5 from 5Mick Herron has a website here. copy – second hand a year or two ago.TracyK at Bitter Tea and Mystery reviewed Slow Horses here. http://bitterteaandmystery.blogspot.c...Read in August, 2015

  • Nigel
    2018-12-12 19:37

    In short - Very enjoyable. Fans of Le Carre/Deighton would probably enjoy this a lot. I'll read the others in the series.I found the opening chapter of this book (the first in a series) somewhat confusing. It is clear that some sort of major terrorist plot is about to be active. I was not sure exactly what was going on but it was definitely tense. Moving on we find out just who the "Slow Horses" actually are. Slough House is their "home" and they seem to be people who have had fairly spectacular failures working for the security services. It is also clear that not all the failures have been made public. It would appear the hope is that once transferred to Slough House the Slow Horses will get very bored and resign saving the security services from having to deal with the problem. Initially I found the writing a little awkward however that changed fairly quickly and the story appealed to me more and more.This is a story about spies or at least security personnel, based in the UK, in which things maybe don't go quite to plan. For a long time it is really not clear who is behind aspects of what is going on. I really did like the characters, interesting and well developed. Initially River (one of the Slow Horses) and his grandfather, an ex security services man known as "the O. B.", interested me. However, coming far more to the fore as the book progressed, was Jackson Lamb, the boss of Slough House. He really is a great character and will lead to me reading the other books in this series I'm sure.In the end this is quality writing to me. A good story line set in current times, with good characters and laconic, dry and highly readable writing. It has a feel of an earlier era and would I think appeal to Le Carre/Deighton fans. However it is also contemporary and with dark humour. In a sense it was a slightly "slow burn" story for me, however almost before I realised it I was completely engrossed.Note - I received an advance digital copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for a fair review

  • Helen
    2018-11-30 21:25

    Catching up with this series after having first read the one that follows it (but they are better read in order). Mick Herron is a brilliant writer who deserves to be better known. His London is instantly recognisable as the real thing - the unnerving moments at railway stations and the murky shabby corners, rather than the touristy bits. These books are thrillers in a post 9/11 7/7 world, and they are about the secret service, but there's definitely a whiff of possible office politics/management games in any other context too (but with higher stakes). The treachery within, and the whims on which other people's careers can be damaged, are disturbing. One character has been deeply betrayed in the past by someone at the heart of the organisation, and she has no idea. There are redeeming features in this rather bleak picture of humanity - in adversity, the written-off agents even, eventually, begin to act as a team - but on the whole this is not a world of trust and ideals.

  • Seana
    2018-11-24 19:35

    I didn't rate this? I loved this book and it's great concept--a house of spies, each of whom have been backwatered for some spectacular failure or another, but who can't be simply fired for various reasons. I'm reading the next in the series at the moment, and was looking to see the name of the third when I saw here that I had never even acknowledged reading this one.

  • Nooilforpacifists
    2018-11-17 21:27

    After a slow start, a well better-than-average mirrors within mirrors MI5 espionage and counter-espionage story.

  • Lisa
    2018-11-19 19:42

    I love this spy thriller featuring the losers from MI5 with toxic personalities that make for an engaging and explosive story!The audio book is good but if you struggle to concentrate on audio books (like me as I tend to listen whilst driving, walking, doing chores etc.) then the real book is probably better as there are a lot of characters and plot points to take note of.

  • Susan
    2018-12-02 19:27

    A very well-written British spy novel with a book BCG of great characters. I loved it. First in a series that I plan to binge read! Thanks Boris for the recommendation. Mick Herron is my newest fav author!

  • Mal Warwick
    2018-12-12 18:20

    The spies who work out of Slough House are “a post-useful crew of misfits [who] can be stored and left to gather dust.” Every one of them. MI5 has dumped them all there after they screwed up royally. Now they labor at menial tasks under the direction of a misanthropic ex-operative named Jackson Lamb. They’re called “Slow Horses,” which is the title of the first novel in this engaging and sometimes hilarious four-book series. Slow Horses is British satire of the first order. The victim is MI5.Not yet thirty, River Cartwright is one of the youngest of the Slow Horses and one of the latest arrivals. He has been at Slough House for just four months. Even before completing his training, River managed to trigger a catastrophic terrorist attack in the London Underground. This resulted in “killing or maiming an estimated 120 people and causing 30m [pounds’] worth of actual damage, along with a projected 2.5 billion [pounds] in lost tourist revenue . . .” The fact that his training partner set him up hasn’t prevented River from being relegated to this contemporary version of purgatory. In fact, the only reason River hasn’t been fired outright is that his grandfather (the O.B., or Old Bastard) had retired from a senior position in MI5 and still has considerable influence in the agency.It seems that nobody at Slough House likes anyone else. In fact, the hostility is palpable. Every one of the Slow Horses harbors a fantasy of getting back to work at Regent’s Park, MI5 headquarters—and seems to think that nobody else ever will. Actually, nobody ever has. They’re all expected to get bored and leave the service.The Byzantine plot in Slow Horses begins to unfold when River is assigned to retrieve and comb through the garbage of a notorious, right-wing journalist. Every night. Meanwhile, River’s office-mate, Sid Baker (a woman) has been detailed to steal the journalist’s electronic files. Somehow, these two and all their colleagues at Slough House become embroiled in an extremely messy set of circumstances involving a young Pakistani student, three right-wing extremists, a cabinet minister, their superiors in MI5, and the aforementioned journalist. It’s a sorry tale full of suspense, and often a funny one.The large cast of characters in Slow Horses illustrates the broad range of their incompetence. There’s “Lady Di,” Diane Taverner, who is the agency’s insufferably manipulative deputy director. Jackson Lamb runs Slough House from behind an upper-floor office door that never seems to open. Catherine Standish was the executive assistant to MI5’s managing director; she may have been involved somehow in his mysterious death. Min Harper left a computer disk containing classified information on a seat in the Underground and was moved to Slough House when the press published the embarrassing contents. Practically nobody knows what crimes or misdemeanors anyone else of these misfits may have committed. Except for Roderick Ho, a consummate computer hacker, who knows practically everyone else’s secret.Appreciating British satire may require a perverse view of life and the world. Whatever it is, I’ve got it.Facebook

  • Spybrary Podcast Podcast
    2018-11-14 23:18

    Listeners to our Spybrary Podcast have been nagging me for ages to read Slow Horses by Mick Herron. I wish I had got to him sooner as I thoroughly loved this novel.Slow Horses is unusual for spy novels in that the first few chapters focus on the characters rather than plot yet Herron pulls this off superbly and keeps the readers interest with his description of flawed individuals. If Slow Horses was a war movie it would be the Dirty Dozen. Slough House is where British Intelligence send their operatives who have screwed up. They can't fire them because they fear them blowing more whistles than Snowden so sending them to Slough House is a very long sin bin, yet unlike rugby there is no chance of getting back out onto the field...or is there?The plot is built around the extreme Right who plan to replicate ISIS methods with a particularly grisly beheading, videoed on the web, here in the UK. Hard to talk about this book without revealing spoilers so I won't. Other than to say Jackson Lamb who heads up Slough House is a disgusting man, he treats his staff with disdain and authority like the crap on his shoes. Yet...yet...I like him! I willed him on to success, epic writing from Herron, now I cant wait to dive into the second book of the series.I don't give 5 stars easily, Herron deserves it. The reviewers often say a particular author is the next Le Carre, in Herron's case I think they have called it correctly.

  • Kitty
    2018-12-10 18:18

    Don't waist your time. The premise was good in theory but it failed in credibility. The plot was practically non existent. There is so much character development that by the time the author circles back to the character you've already forgotten who he or she was in the first place. The main character only shows up every 10 pages or so. I will give the author credit for dialogue but it's few and far between. SLOW HORSES failed to even leave the gate for me.

  • Loonywoman
    2018-12-02 18:25

    Far too self consciously clever for my liking. His style came across as over worked and contrived. The characters left me cold, I formed no relationship with any of them. But I can appreciate the complexity of the plot although, for me, the constant flitting between strands detracted from the flow. The fact that River followed his grandfather into intelligence and that they openly discussed other agents stretched credulity. All in all, not my cup of tea.

  • Margaret Sankey
    2018-12-06 21:27

    Where do broken spies go? In Britain, the detritus from MI5 wash up at Slough House, a collection of drunks, incompetents, anger-management problems and the too old school. When an operation goes bad, however, they and their peculiar talents might just be the key to avoiding a war and fixing a mess created by their malevolent bosses.