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London's Slough House is where the washed-up MI5 spies go to while away what's left of their failed careers. The "slow horses," as they’re called, have all disgraced themselves in some way to get relegated here. Maybe they messed up an op badly and can't be trusted anymore. Maybe they got in the way of an ambitious colleague and had the rug yanked out from under them. Maybe they just got too dependent on the bottle—not unusual in this line of work. One thing they all have in common, though, is they all want to be...
London's Slough House is where the washed-up MI5 spies go to while away what's left of their failed careers. The "slow horses," as they’re called, have all disgraced themselves in some way to get relegated here. Maybe they messed up an op badly and can't be trusted anymore. Maybe they got in the way of an ambitious colleague and had the rug yanked out from under them. Maybe they just got too dependent on the bottle—not unusual in this line of work. One thing they all have in common, though, is they all want to be back in the action. And most of them would do anything to get there─even if it means having to collaborate with one another.
Now the slow horses have a chance at redemption. An old Cold War-era spy is found dead on a bus outside Oxford, far from his usual haunts. The despicable, irascible Jackson Lamb is convinced Dickie Bow was murdered. As the agents dig into their fallen comrade's circumstances, they uncover a shadowy tangle of ancient Cold War secrets that seem to lead back to a man named Alexander Popov, who is either a Soviet bogeyman or the most dangerous man in the world. How many more people will have to die to keep those secrets buried?
Winner of the 2013 CWA Gold Dagger Award
WINNER OF THE 2013 CWA GOLD DAGGER FOR BEST CRIME NOVEL OF THE YEAR
A BBC FRONT ROW BEST CRIME NOVEL OF 2013
“Funny, clever ... Genuinely thrilling. The novel is equally noteworthy for its often lyrical prose.”
─Publishers Weekly, STARRED Review
"A great romp."
─Jeff Park, BBC Front Row
“If you like your suspense novels told with a smart dash of wit and sarcasm, filled with lots of twists and turns, Herron's your man.”
“[Dead Lions] features some of the twistiest plotlines in crime fiction...[and] is beautifully written but also elegantly structured ... Ever since finishing Slow Horses, I've been waiting for a possible sequel. Now that it's here, I have the pleasure of experiencing it, along with the pang of having finished it.”
─International Noir Fiction
"Herron provides a dour, twisty spy thriller with something for everyone: part post–Cold War miasma, part James Bond heroics, and elliptical withal."
"Herron delivers unbeatable entertainment for thriller fans."
─Library Journal (starred review)
“Dead Lions is at once a finely wrought thriller and a farcical, fiercely pointed tale of political greed and bureaucratic corruption. Mick Herron writes like a dream.”
─Open Letters Monthly
“A surreal, cynical, yet amusing look at the world of British intelligence.... a looking-glass world that features KGB undercover agents, a Russian oligarch, a text message on a mobile phone and the ghost of a fabled Soviet spymaster who may not be real... an amusing, serpentine plot that takes readers as far from the glamorous world of Ian Fleming’s tuxedo-wearing spy as could be imagined.”
─January Magazine, Best Books of 2013
“Full of style and cynical humor .... Has all the punch-your-lights-out action of a movie thriller.”
─Read Me Deadly
Praise for Mick Herron
"Mick Herron never tells a suspense story in the expected way ... In Herron's book, there is no hiding under the desk."
─The New York Times Book Review
"Stylish and engaging."
─The Washington Post
"[A] masterful thriller ... The intricate plot, coupled with Herron's breezy writing style, results in superior entertainment that makes most other novels of suspense appear dull and slow-witted by comparison."
─Publishers Weekly, Starred Review
"Like a good movie ... grabs the reader from the first page."
─Booklist, Starred Review
From the Hardcover edition.
Posted November 15, 2013
This read like a classic cold war tale of the LeCarre or MacInnes era. Jackson Lamb (mildly reminiscent of another outcast detective, Carl Morck) heads up an outpost for MI5 that is made up of misfits, placed there for various disgraces in their earlier postings. When the death of an old, low-level spook captures Lamb's interest, the book takes off all over England, chasing down leads and red herrings to the finale. It took a while to settle in to the choppy and constant changes between people, but all in all, a read I think even my dad would have ok'd.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted June 11, 2013
This is a very entertaining suspense story. Set in London, the action centers around a branch office of MI5, British Intelligence. On this branch, most of the leaves are withering or malformed. This is where MI5 sends it's castoffs and screwups hoping they will quit the service or slowly rot away. The small department is full of quirky characters. Chief among them is Jackson Lamb, perhaps the quirkiest of the sorry lot. Lamb, however, does remember the old days of the Cold War when real spies faced off against each other. When a former low level British spy turns up dead on a bus, Lamb refuses to believe it is due to natural causes. Is he just trying to shake off the dust of years of inactivity or is there perhaps some justification for his belief that the Russians are up to no good? The story is full of red herrings along with a great cast of characters who are more or less interested in chasing them down. A follow up book certainly would be on my reading list. Book provided for review by the well read folks at Soho Press.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.