At Slough House—MI5's London depository for demoted spies—Brexit has taken a toll. The "slow horses" have been pushed further into the cold, Slough House has been erased from official records, and its members are dying in unusual circumstances, at an unusual clip. No wonder Jackson Lamb's crew is feeling paranoid. But are they actually targets?
The story revolves around another of Taverner’s ambitious, misbegotten projects—this one so enterprising and unscrupulous that the reader can’t help thinking that it has precedent in the real world ... Mr. Herron’s series captures and builds on the noxious spirit of the age, of disillusion and fanaticism, and brings special attention to increasingly dysfunctional government intelligence agencies, self-aggrandizing organizations where secrecy and covert operations flourish, where blame-shifting is routine and obfuscation house style ... Mr. Herron goes about this with bouncing black humor and a set of characters whose appearance and manner would be over the top in any other era. Happily for Mr. Herron—if alas for us—events continue to produce rich material for his special gifts, and we hope he is scribbling away making good use of it all.
The spy writer most attuned to our delirious moment is Mick Herron ... funny, brilliantly-plotted [...] terrific seventh installment ... If you've read the earlier Slough House novels — and if not, I urge you to start at the beginning with Slow Horses — you'll know that Herron tells his stories with extraordinary verve. He juggles multiple plot lines and reveals character in sharp, sardonic strokes ... Each of these topics is worthy of a le Carré novel. Yet Herron's tone is not remotely le Carré's. He comes from a later generation, one that finds the world of espionage more comic than tragic.
Mick Herron’s series of thrillers about a dysfunctional outpost of the secret service has become a bestselling phenomenon and seen him crowned 'the new king of the spy thriller.' Herron is an excellent writer. All the books open with a dramatic incident, like the pre-credit sequence of a Bond film. Part One is a series of (usually low-key) disconcerting events while new characters are introduced. In Part Two the plot strands come together with chases, violence and deaths. Every novel closes with another downbeat tour of Slough House. The formula never changes ... In contrast to this self-consciously anti-PC outspokenness, the novels have a mainstream, soft-left, anti-Brexit political view ... Is Lamb’s outrageousness merely to distract from an otherwise comfortably orthodox liberal attitude in which the secret service is often out of control, subject to the personal whims and right-wing agendas of a complacently corrupt establishment? Perhaps the time has come to call Herron out.