Cover Image: Slough House

Slough House

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Member Reviews

I have loved all of the Jackson Lamb series so was excited to get an advance copy of Slough House. This is a classic Jackson Lamb book with all the usual characters excellently portrayed. It's a gripping read with a well paced plot and I enjoyed it immensely. I feel that it has a slightly weaker plot than some of the previous books in the series but Herron is still a stand out writer of this genre. It could be read as a stand alone but I would recommend starting at the beginning of the series. Highly recommended.
Many thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for a digital ARC.
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A familiar cast of shambolic misanthropes joke, smoke, booze, and flatulate their way through spy capers, bang up to date political fallout, and familiar London locales. Great fun.
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This is one of those arc that makes you wonder why you never read anything by this author before.
Because you loved this book, thought that the author must be a fantastic human being and enjoyed every moment of this book.
I loved it, loved the great characters, the humor and the complex plot that kept me reading and enterained.
An excellent book by an excellent author, I will surely read the rest of the series.
Strongly recommended.
Many thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for this ARC, all opinions are mine
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The latest Slough House novel is always a treat. This one — which is actually called Slough House — eviscerates a woeful establishment playing at populism for its own ends.

If you’re new to the series, the premise is this. There is a team where the intelligence services (“the Service”) redeploys all those who have failed in their work, for whatever reason. While they are kept on the payroll, they spend their days in Slough House, a dark, dank building above an empty shop near the Barbican, condemned to the kind of soul-sapping office work which most of us accept as our lot.

This makes for interestingly flawed characters (as it’s their flaws that got them sent there in the first place) and people who are desperate for action whenever the hint of an opportunity presents itself, as it invariably does. Slough House has a surprisingly high death rate, which also keeps things interesting over the course of the series.

In this outing, Slough House seems to have disappeared from the Service’s records. The Slow Horses, as its inmates are known, think they are being followed. London is unstable, the country is reeling from the aftermath of Russian poisonings of citizens. There are yellow-vest protestors on the street, and former Home Secretary Peter Judd, an unpleasant opportunist with a mop of blond hair, is behind the scenes agitating for various right-wing causes, although he doesn’t appear to believe in anything except himself. 

Jackson Lamb is at the heart of these various dramas. He is in charge of Slough House, the only one who is apparently there by choice, for reasons that are never revealed. Unlike his charges, he is obnoxious but infallible, a superhero in an ill-fitting suit with a fag in his mouth, smelling of booze. 

The orchestration of these various strands is beautifully complex. You are carried along by the story and can have confidence with Herron that you are not going to be dropped

Slough House would probably have been spot-on topical, if it weren’t for Covid. Even so, the horrendous Judd, wilfully inciting trouble just to the point where he (thinks he) can control it, the players behind the scenes manipulating events for their own advancement, regardless of who gets hurt, make this book angrier, funnier and darker than ever, with an ending that leaves you holding your breath for the next one.
I received a copy of Slough House from the publisher via Netgalley.
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The seventh in a superb series of highly gripping and entertaining novels revolving around a group of “reject” intelligence operatives sentenced to serve out their remaining career years trawling through a series of mindless tasks in the dingy Slough House under the direction of the wonderfully ghastly Jackson Lamb, a Falstaffian figure of the grossest proportions, both literally and figuratively, the brilliant creation of  author Mick Herron. 

Herron does a terrific job of balancing tension with (somewhat black) humour on every page. Characters are finely drawn as complex relationships are developed whilst the plot thickens.

No spoilers here, but my only misgiving is that some of the references are so contemporary (Novichok nerve agent, les Gilets Jaunes, not to mention a prime minister with very referential physical and vocal characteristics) that I wonder how this novel might read in ten years time. 

But it makes a great read for now. Roll on episode 8!
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Another Slough house slow horses masterpiece by Mick Herron. Ex-Slough House Agents are dying whilst current agents are being followed and it all traces back to an unsanctioned revenge hit Diana Taverner organised in Russia with private backing.
The seventh book in the Slow Horses series is an extremely witty, well paced story with a number of well hidden twists and leaves the reader looking forward to book 8. The entire Slough House cast is well utilised throughout the book (including characters arisen from the past).
For a new reader I would read the preceding books before this one as it includes links to the past.
For those (like me) looking forward to the television series, when this book is translated to TV it definitely will not disappoint.
Great characters, great writing, great book.
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Slough House.

Not a house. And not in Slough.

It's home to Jackson Lamb's crew of Slow Horses, spooks banished from the Park for...transgressions.

But it doesn't pay to underestimate them.

Out there in Spookland, it's all going to pot, Lady Di is on the warpath and Slough House has been wiped from the Service records. How much worse can things get?

Brilliant does not begin to describe the magnificence of this series. And the latest instalment is the best thing I've read in a long time
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Jackson Lamb and his band of misfits certainly have a challenge in this latest book in the very enjoyable Slough House series.
This book has it all from political shenanigans, Russian hit squad on the lose and most of all the dark wit you come to know and love from the pen of Mick Herron. 
This series keeps on getting better and better. Highly recommended.
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With thanks to John Murray Press & NetGalley for the ARC.

Jackson Lamb and his team of 'slow horses' are back for another adventure.

To a backdrop of Brexit and in the aftermath of the Russian novichok poisonings in England, things are on edge in Slough House.

Lambs team discover that they've been written out of the departments data base.

Then a couple of ex Slow Horses die in suspicious circumstances.

Diana Taverner, the Regents Park number 1, may have painted herself into a corner with putting her trust in a politician and cosying up to a news TV mogul.

The story rocks along, brilliantly told, funny, serious and poignant in all the right places.

A great read.
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This is the seventh full novel in the Slough House series, and they just keep getting better. 

The story uses the Novichok poisonings in Salisbury as a springboard for the events that affect the slow horses with a retaliatory attack being carried out on foreign soil backed by private investors. As you'd expect, this doesn't go down too well and foreign agents are ordered to start killing the slow horses. This leads to a chain of events that encompasses the usual political meddling and clashes between Diana Taverner and Jackson Lamb.

The slow horses themselves are as eloquently written as ever, there are moments that genuinely make me laugh but pages later, there can be a sucker punch which leaves me reeling. 
Lamb is, as always, someone I want to know more about. He seems like such a repulsive character but his loyalty is as fierce as his insults and we're never really shown what has led him to be like he is. I'm especially intrigued to see how he'll translate to TV. 

Something I've enjoyed about the previous books is the way Herron writes about London and this book is no exception. He captures it so well and it's almost as though it's another character. 

I'd thoroughly recommend this book and would suggest you read the prior books beforehand if you can.
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Humour, Heartbreak  Happenstance, Horror

In my review of the previous outing in this series ( Number 6, Joe Country) I wondered how on earth Herron manages to avoid writs from our present prime minister, given the close modelling of a look, character and certain history-alike of one of the more villainous characters in the series. Now I know.

Herron is as adept at feinting, doubling back on himself, creating illusions, false trails and throwing off shadowy trackers on his trail as any of his spooks needs to be.

I remain in awe. Not to mention, possessed of a racing, aching heart. Herron’s series is a mix of much humour, twistier plots than Spaghetti Junction, sharp finger on the political and cultural pulse, understanding of office politics which is a mixture of The Office and the office as run by The Mafia, and, running darkly through, the knowledge that characters we grow to know and love may be those we discover will be lost and cruelly taken from us

Number 7 (which Herron finished writing shortly before the first lockdown) is therefore a virus free zone. At its heart and genesis is the real events of the Salisbury poisonings, that reality giving Herron’s imagination its starting gun. Also in place is the shocking revelation at the end of the previous book of a discovery by Roderick Ho. Side by side are two journeys, one somewhat farcical, office politics stab in the back offering varieties of prat fall, the other journey inexorably Heart of Darkness

There were/are aspects of the series which are delighting me a little less on each outing, which are to do with the more caricatured elements of certain characters, so that, for example the gross, so far from woke as to be in an induced coma aspects of Jackson Lamb, and, at times Roderick Ho’s self-delusion of his ‘Rodster-Cool’ fantasies. There is also dialogue which sometimes seems an overdone wit-on-wit in the encounters between First Desk Lady Di Taverner and her are-they-in-allegiance-are-they-the-deadliest-of-enemies-equally-power-hungry Peter Judd. But just as I think I am seeing an unfolding of the formulaic, Herron rips the rug out from under foot and delivers dark, perfectly aimed blows to the gut, the heart and the zeitgeist

As ever, though each book could be read as a standalone, best enjoyment is to start the series at the first book. I am minded to go back to the very first, to see what long shadows Herron was casting there which have had daylight revealed here…..

I am enormously grateful to NetGalley for the Digital Arc of this.

As for the writer himself, I am both even more grateful, whilst also thinking ‘How could you, How Could You!!’
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I have dragged this out as long as possible. It is time to finally write up my views on Slough House, thus bringing an end to my time, at present, with Jackson Lamb and his crew of misfits. As with all the previous books in this series, I find this book superb. It's a spy novel but not a flashy, adrenaline-filled ticking time bomb ready to explode. But, rather, a calmer, more calculated real-world view of the spy game. It's subtle, sharp as a knife's edge and complex. Its (sometimes) deftly handled political wrangling and positioning, as performed by Diana Taverner and Jackson Lamb, puts Mick Herron in the orbit of espionage writers held in highest esteem. This is the long game at its best.

Slough House follows swiftly on the heels of Joe Country, where our beloved joes saw action in the Welsh countryside. The Salisbury novichok attacks have happened in the book and reprisals have been dealt on Russian soil, with private UK funding. Now, the Russians are retaliating, against our reprisal, and things are getting out of hand. Bring on the steadying hand of Jackson Lamb. Jackson is in good form here. Sarcastic as ever but I do wonder if the liberal application of sarcasm may be a touch much? Nary a conversation occurs without a rude put down but my unflinching admiration can take the overdose of flippancy. Part of the charm of this series and Jackson's genius.

We have a welcomed surprise development which brought a smile to my face. It will change the dynamic of the team going forward. Mick Herron is on point, as ever, adding depth to a handful of characters in his oh so subtly, crafty way. I appreciate the build up of tension and the direction it went. A cliffhanger that's left me anxious but isn't that the goal? I was caught of guard by the reference to my talented artist friend and his work. I am dying to know which piece it was on the wall at the OB's house?

I hope it isn't inappropriate to burst with excitement that the Slough House series is being adapted for tv by Apple? It will be titled Slow Horses; I only just found out and, heartily believe, it is the perfect character driven drama in the spy realm located in London. And who better than Gary Oldman to play Jackson Lamb! I am overjoyed and looking forward to reliving the early exploits of our slow horses through the small screen.
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I read an article about Mick Herron on the publication of this book and decided to read the first in the series, Slow Horses.  Two weeks later having devoured the first six novels I began this latest installment.  I loved it. and am writing this review less than 24 hours after being approved for a review copy which shows how much I enjoyed it.  

Once again Jackson Lamb and the lacklustre Slough House team are in trouble - with the usual line of unpleasant foes lined up - Diana Taverner, Peter Judd and various foreign assassins.  As ever the most troublesome are the closest.  Throw Novichok poisoning and a new populist leader into the mix and we have the start of another gripping, dark but oh so very funny outing for the slow horses.  Roddy Ho's mental musings are even more hilarious than ever - as he wonders whether a baseball cap with 'Spook at work' would be an appropriate buy.  Lamb is as revolting as ever and the rest of the team perform their roles - for me River is always the central character after Lamb - the inheritor of his grandfather's skills and as quietly competent as Lamb is, but with more morals - for the moment at least.  

I almost dropped a star because of the cliffhanger ending - I never like these, and in particular when we will have to wait some time for the next in the series.  But overall this is such a delight that it is worth 5 stars.

Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for a review copy.
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Having read a number of books in this series , I thought I knew what to expect .. Although similar with humour and the leader of the failed agents (Jackson Lamb) as obnoxious as ever this book seems more politically relevant than previous ones . The fallout from the Russian Novichok poisonings in Salisbury starts a tit for tat retaliation battle , which inevitably drags the agents from Slough House into the picture after someone has released their files to the Russians . Plenty of humour still there though , with great characters throughout..
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“For a city is an impermanent thing, its surface ever shifting, like the sea. And like the sea, a city has its sharks.”

London is full of sharks and spooks and, in this case, hit squads. There is a war going on between Russian and English spies, and as the book opens, the Russians are retaliating against the assassination of one of theirs.

There’s a fair bit of politics in this one, where Peter Judd, a former Parliamentary minister, “a politician whose greed for power was so naked it required a parental advisory sticker” has plans to raise his public profile by stirring up the Yellow Vests behind the scenes. You know, fuelling the fires of dissent. Brexit is never named but is occasionally referred to only in phrases such as “budgetary fallout from You-Know-What”.

“Even unelected, Judd remained a big beast in the political jungle. But Diana had done her growing up on Spook Street, where big beasts numbered among the daily kill.”

Judd and Diana Taverner have had a longstanding acquaintance. Possibly an earlier affair? I don’t remember. She is First Desk at “Park”, which is Regent’s Park, Secret Service headquarters. She is the supreme boss – except when her budget is at stake, when she may resort to outsourcing “funding”.

Judd is applying pressure and telling her how he wants her to appear and what he wants her to say on a TV broadcast that he hopes will rattle some cages for his benefit.

“‘You hardly need me to write your script.’

‘I’m starting to get the impression that that’s exactly what you think I need,’ Diana said.

‘If you prefer, we could shoot you behind a screen.’

‘I could probably arrange something similar for you.’”

And we know she could. In fact, we almost wish she would. But Herron doesn’t keep us in one scene for very long. The action moves between Slough House, the Park, Diana Taverner and her crew, Judd and a TV guy, River out in the field, Shirley drunk and drugged, and weird, funny Roddy Ho.

But – just as we’re in a dark alley with a torch flickering at the other end or on a back road at night with headlights suddenly appearing – BOOM! We are moved to the club where Judd and Taverner are conversing or back to Jackson Lamb, being his disgusting self somewhere.

Lamb is the boss of Slough House, theoretically working for Taverner, but even she doubts it. In each book he becomes more repugnant and more clever. He seems to appear without apparently arriving. More like the apparition of a homeless man from a dumpster. In one scene, at a kind of party where he is smoking a particularly fragrant Russian cigarette:

“Lamb had found a bottle of malt and was in a corner smoking, looking like a bin someone had set fire to.”

He smokes constantly, farts, throws butts on the floor, lighters out the window, and demeans his people.

“Lamb rolled his eyes. ‘God, you’re a drag to have around. Moan moan moan. It’s like being shackled to the ghost of Bob Marley.’

‘I think you mean Jacob.’

‘Depends,’ said Lamb. ‘Which was the one surrounded by wailers?’”

He is protective of his joes – his spooks – when they’re on missions, but he gets his money’s worth.

“ ’And if you’re now serving two purposes instead of one, it’s like I’ve just halved all your salaries.’ He beamed. ‘Win win.’”

You get the idea. I’ll make no attempt to discuss the plot, but there certainly is one and it’s up-to-date, post-Brexit but pre-Covid.

Fans will enjoy seeing favourite characters.

Drinker and coke user Shirley Dander: “Shirley could handle criticism as well as the next guy, but the next guy was a touchy bastard.
. . .
. . . a thing about Shirley Dander’s partners was that they tended to die; their brains misted against an office wall, or their insides spilt on snowy Welsh hillsides.”

Kinda takes the shine off wanting to work with her.

Roddy Ho, about himself: “ Roddy Ho was the Duke of Digital; everyone knew that. He was Master of the Monitor, Lord of the Laptop, but that was only half the story. Take him away from his screens and he was also King of the Kerb, Sultan of the Streets, the something of the Pavements.”

Roddy does know how to hack into almost everything, but that’s where it stops, long before the kerb or the streets. His boss has no filters. “‘It’s like having my own personal Yellow Pages,’ said Lamb. ‘Or, you know. Just Pages in his case’”

I am not cherry-picking quotable quotes. If you went through Herron’s books with a rake you’d end up with an enormous pile of excellent, quirky phrases, put-downs and descriptions.

I was delighted to see River Cartwright back, the first Slow Horse we ever met, I think, but he is in terrible peril, and the tension builds. I will warn you only that Herron does kill people off – see the reference to Shirley’s past partners.

Such good writing, such memorable characters, and such timely stories. Loved it! Thanks to NetGalley and John Murray Press for the preview copy. More please!

p.s. Great interview with the author here:
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I can’t quite begin to do justice to how excited I was to get my mitts on this latest instalment in the superbly caustic Jackson Lamb spy-thriller series.  Its timely arrival has played merry-hell with my TBR though … but it was too good to wait in line.

Jackson Lamb is a deeply distasteful character.  And yet the moment I opened the cover (or should I say door?) of Slough House I more or less galloped up those familiar death-trap stairs into London’s most soul destroying office with something that could be likened to sheer joy. You’ve been gone too long Lamb. Your abusive, repellant presence has been sorely missed by this morally-compromised fan.

Slough House welcomes its readers back into Brexit-smeared London, with the Salisbury poisonings serving as malingering source of shame to Britain’s security services.  MI5’s ‘first desk’, the indomitable Diana Taverner isn’t known for letting bygones live up to their idiom, but with bean-counters and bureaucrats working tirelessly to thwart her fighting spirit, the unthinkable suddenly became appealing.  From within the bastion, hitherto Russian-proof, concrete and digital firewalls of Regent’s Park (affectionally coined The Park to insiders), Diana orchestrates an expensive, off-the-books retaliatory hit in Kazan.  The book reluctantly joins Diana at a bombastically pompous, self-congratulatory dinner arranged by slimy ex-politico Peter Judd … and it’s no coincidence that they’re sharing their table with Judd’s latest BFF, Damian Cantor; influential online news tycoon, and the richest man in the country under thirty-five.

With Judd on a king-making mission, and Diana beginning to regret her decision to sell her shadow to the devil, it’s only a matter of time before Jackson Lamb gets a whiff of something familiarly Cold-War ish.  And when his slow horses start noticing they’ve acquired new, three-dimensional shadows, Lamb does what Lamb does best … farts and lights up the next knock-off fag.   In keeping with the six preceding books, this is the point at which the slow horses bring their own, bruising form of spy craft and justice to the streets of London … with the occasional sojourn to the leafy suburbs of Kent where a recently murdered slow horse finds herself at the wrong end of a gun, again.  But whilst The Park and Slough House both aspire to the same restorative outcome, they set about it in their own signature styles:  Diana through calculated manoeuvres, and Lamb through blunt force trauma.  Whilst they’re on wildly divergent paths, they’re inevitably headed for a catastrophic collision.

For all its sardonic repartee and acerbic humour, Slough House is not flippant, comedic spy novel.  Far from it.  It’s shrewd, compelling and acutely pitched; narrated by a borderline-bitchy raconteur with a singular talent for encouraging the reader to reconsider current affairs and social tenor.  The fast-paced plot twists and turns, and then turns again, with a satisfying amount of intricacy and a few helpful self defence techniques thrown in for good measure. Whilst the fate of one character - left shackled to the floorboards of a recently vacated shop - chimes with a deliciously rich clang of comeuppance, it’s the superbly precipitous cliff hanger that really hammers-home the author’s prowess for savvy, suspense.    

If you’re a fan of Gene Hunt (Life On Mars / Ashes To Ashes television series), then Jackson Lamb is your new politically incorrect antihero.  He’s a legend to the spy world and firm favourite of my bookish cravings.   Oh, and if you weren’t already eyeing our political leadership through the career-ending / soft-focus (depending on your channel choice) lens of British media, then Slough House will undoubtedly encourage you to do so with a whole new air of enlightened cynicism.

Slough House is the seventh Jackson Lamb book. I really cannot recommend these hugely enjoyable spy-thrillers highly enough … and I unequivocally believe this isn’t a series to start anywhere other than the very beginning.  There’s a LOT of history here, and the characters’ backstories make up important elements of this latest instalment.  So … be patient … go back to where it all began (in the pages of Slow Horses) and I promise you’ll be so caught up in this whip-sharp story that you’ll find yourself cracking the spine of Slough House in no time at all.
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This is the seventh full-length visit to Slough House (there are also three novellas, The Drop, The List, and The Catch). And it is more of the same, which is good news for fans and probably very confusing for anyone who is picking up a Mick Herron novel for the first time. Note to the publishers: Please put a precis of the previous novel at least at the beginning of each new book it would stop a lot of head scratching.

In Slough House, Herron tries to gather up several current political concerns: Nerve-agent poisonings, private money bankrolling public services, populist​ leaders and who controls them and how the media underpins what we think. It is questionable whether all this can sit happily in one novel and whether any of it is dealt with particularly well. I am not convinced that as a writer Herron possesses the intellectual heft and the necessary lightness of touch to handle any of these elements at all, leave alone all of them very well.

For many readers though, most of these themes are neither that interesting nor important. They will be making regular trips to Archway for the characters, especially Jackson Lamb, who needs to be read to be believed. It has now reached a point where a real relationship has been formed between readers and the Slough House crew, but this is more down to the sheer number of visits than anything else. As a reader I have long wanted more of the interiority of these characters, and I am still left wanting seven novels on. 

And it is Lamb more than any of his team who is only described from the outside. Whilst we get some idea of the moral compass and talents that lie within, any sense of who Lamb is and what he really thinks and how (or, indeed, if) he feels is informed guess work at best, a random stab in the dark at worst. For this reason more than very other I will be intrigued to see how Jackson Lamb is brought to life by Gary Oldman for TV.

I have started to wonder how many more times Herron will push open Slough House's dodgy back door - I'm not sure it can stand much more being shoved open but I will be sad when it is boarded up for good.
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Mick Herron's Slough House series is one of the finest modern spy series written. This latest episode draws on the use of nerve agents as a weapon and the repercussions as the spy sides clash. Someone is tailing and targetting the slow horses. Someone is trying to kill them. But who? and as Jackson Lamb Says "look at us, why would they bother?". Tight writing with a cast of superb characters and political machinations a plenty. With the promise of a television series in the near future this series which has been a bit of a secret pleasure may well be about to shed the overcoat and step out of the shadows. Highly Recommended.
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This is the 7th book in the Slough House series and another well-written page-turner. It was a pleasure to read. 
Set in temporary London, the Slough House series always incorporates real events; this time Brexit. 

Jackson Lamb is an aged spy with a love for cigarettes and snide remarks, yet he always defends his shunned slow horses. But when mysterious fatal accidents befall several slow horses and Slough House is wiped from records at the Service, it marks an uncertain future for the dilapidated building in central London and its peculiar inhabitants. 

As usual, the plot is complex and intricately tied to the meddling of foreign and domestic spies, as well as London’s political infighting utilising spies to push agendas or tighten the grip on power. 

I received the 6th book from NetGalley two years ago and loved the series so much that I went back to read every single book in the series. As such, I was very happy to receive this ARC. 

It is not necessary to have read other books in the series, but it definitely helps to understand the different characters’ backgrounds and the Slough House team’s journey. 
Thanks to NetGalley, John Murray and Mick Herron for this ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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So here we are, book 7 in the Jackson Lamb/Slough House series of books. Book 6, Joe Country ended somewhat precipitously and I have to admit to worrying about the motley crew of MI5 spies over the past 18 months or so. Upon opening Slough House it seems that my fears were not completely unfounded.

Losing one ex-member of Slough House is an accident but when a second is murdered it appears that somebody has it in for Jackson Lamb’s band of exiled spies. They also seem to have all been removed from the database and Diana Taverner – First Desk at MI5 – may or may not have a hand in it. Throw in some tussling between the UK and Russia over novichok poisonings in our fair land and a retaliation which seems to have waved a red rag at a bull and well, things are not rosy in spy-land.

Bubbling away in the background are political manoeuvres by Peter Judd, a power hungry Etonian Machiavelli with a penchant for using complicated and old fashioned words to sound intelligent (familiar?) and his new ally Damien Cantor a media genius who owns his own TV Channel, Channel Go. The dance between Peter and Diana is a joy to read with skilled word play and one-upmanship between two people who both want to come out on top. Peter is using Channel Go to push his own agenda and, due to a rare misstep by Diana, he has her well and truly under his thumb, leading her to confide in her old adversary Jackson Lamb.

Lamb is his usual grotesque, flatulent, sharp-witted and deceptively agile man with a sharp tongue and quick mind. Protective over his group of spies (just don’t tell them that) when he discovers they are being followed and are potentially in danger he sets wheels in motion and lays traps. Always one step ahead with an eye on a knife hurtling towards his back he is not to be underestimated.

This book feels very current, from the references to Brexit, Russian spies, and the rise of the right to the harnessing of TV and social media for political gains. The members of Slough House are merely the pawns in the larger game being played with River, the fabulous Roddy, Shirley, Louisa, Catherine and newest member Lec working against Regent’s Park, the home of MI5.

Of course, the star of the show is the writing. Nobody writes like Mick Herron. This is a tense and taut spy thriller but is also political satire with its tongue firmly in cheek. Writing a book which deals with Russian spies, novichok poisoning, right wing uprisings, illicit gains, grief and death and keeping moments of humour is a difficult balancing act, but as ever, Mick Herron deftly handles it. I found myself laughing out loud one moment whilst being pole-axed the next on more than occasion with one event in particular taking my breath away. It is another winner for me.
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