*Soon to be a TV series starring Oscar-award winning actor Gary Oldman as Jackson Lamb*
'The new king of the spy thriller' Mail on Sunday
'Razor-sharp prose, fully formed characters and an underlying pathos make this series the most exciting development in spy fiction since the Cold War' The Times
Winner of the 2013 CWA Gold Dagger Award
Dickie Bow is not an obvious target for assassination.
But once a spook, always a spook. And Dickie was a talented streetwalker back in the day, before he turned up dead on a bus. A shadow. Good at following people, bringing home their secrets.
Dickie was in Berlin with Jackson Lamb. Now Lamb's got his phone, and on it the last secret Dickie ever told, and reason to believe an old-time Moscow-style op is being run in the Service's back-yard.
In the Intelligence Service purgatory that is Slough House, Jackson Lamb's crew of back-office no-hopers is about to go live . . .
'As a master of wit, satire, insight... Herron is difficult to overpraise' Daily Telegraph
'Irresistible writing ... ironclad storytelling and off-kilter humour' Financial Times
'Mick Herron's novels are a satirical chronicle of modern Britain . . . in their gleefully shocking way, his books reflect the trajectory of the nation' Economist
In the opening chapter of Herron's funny, clever sequel to 2010's Slow Horses (2010), low-level British spy, Dickie Bow, dies on a bus to Oxford of apparently natural causes. To Jackson Lamb, the thoroughly unlikable head of Slough House ("the spooks' equivalent of Devil's Island," to which disgraced or out-of-favor British spies are exiled), Bow's death plus a cryptic, unsent text keyed into his cellphone (the single word "cicadas") suggest Russian intrigue, perhaps tied to a long-dormant, possibly mythical, spy named Alexander Popov. Meanwhile, two Slough House operatives are seconded to the job of protecting a Russian billionaire, Arkady Pashkin, in London for a nebulous meeting. The complex plot drags a bit in the middle, as Herron gets quite a number of balls in the air, but once he does, the narrative picks up real steam and becomes genuinely thrilling. The novel is equally noteworthy for its often lyrical prose.
This was a disappointing read. Having enjoyed the first book in the series, I had high expectations from this author but the writing was lazy and formulaic and it had the feel of a movie script with the heavy reliance on dialogue and its comparisons of characters to actors such as Timothy Spall or Tom Conti. Still, this is a bestselling author so he is clearly appealing to the many who want to gallop through a story without any superfluous detail intruding on the plot.