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THE INSTANT #1 SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLER
'Herron is at the summit of a new golden age of spy fiction' Sunday Times
*Now a major TV series starring Gary Oldman*
In MI5 a scandal is brewing and there are bad actors everywhere.
A key member of a Downing Street think-tank has disappeared without a trace. Claude Whelan, one-time First Desk of MI5's Regent's Park, is tasked with tracking her down. But the trail leads straight back to Regent's Park HQ itself, with its chief, Diana Taverner, as prime suspect. Meanwhile her Russian counterpart has unexpectedly shown up in London but has slipped under MI5's radar.
Over at Slough House, the home for demoted and embittered spies, the slow horses are doing what they do best: adding a little bit of chaos to an already unstable situation.
In a world where lying, cheating and backstabbing is the norm, bad actors are bending the rules for their own gain. If the slow horses want to change the script, they'll need to get their own act together before the final curtain.
'A pitch-perfect espionage thriller' Sunday Times
'This is entertainment of the highest class' Literary Review
'[Bad Actors] deserves the bouquets that will come its way, and Herron is building a series with lasting resonance' The Times
The disappearance of Sophie de Greer, a "superforecaster" who predicts voter reactions to British government policies, drives Herron's terrific eighth Slough House novel (after 2021's Slow Horses). Since de Greer might be a Russian plant, two important people want her found: Anthony Sparrow, the prime minister's slimy enforcer, because he hired de Greer and wants to spare the government humiliation, and Diane Taverner, MI5's ruthless chief, because she knows Sparrow will blame her if de Greer turns out to be a spy. The actual work of finding de Greer falls to the so-called slow horses of Slough House, "the fleapit to which Regent's Park consigns failures, and where would-be stars of the British security service are living out the aftermath of their professional errors." Every piece counts in the intricate jigsaw puzzle of a plot, but the book's main strength is its dry, acerbic wit (Sparrow is "a homegrown Napoleon: nasty, British and short"). The result is an outstanding mix of arch humor, superb characterizations, and trenchant political observations. The forthcoming Apple TV adaptation of the series is sure to win Herron new fans. Agent: Juliet Burton, Juliet Burton Literary (U.K.).