Written by Mick Herron

Number 2 in Slough House

Publisher: Soho Crime
Pages: 348
Genre: Thriller, Mystery, Espionage
Published: 2013-05-07
Original Language: English

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.

Read from 2022-12-03 to 2022-12-09
Read in English
Rating: 3/5
Review: High expectations is a double-edged sword. I dove into this book expecting more of what I got in the first book in the series: a proper spy-novel with a bunch of humour in it. It’s a fine balance to strike, and, for me, this book didn’t manage to strike it. This felt like a book which was intended to be funny, with a spy-plot, rather than a spy-novel which was also funny. The plot felt contrived in a way where it might have just about got away with it if it were told with more background/side-plots/elaboration which made everything just a little bit more plausible.

That’s not to say the book wasn’t enjoyable. The characters hold up, and still feel remarkably well-rounded, considering how little time is actually spent on each of them. The funny parts are funny most of the time, but at times it just becomes a little too much: the constant asides occasionally distract too much from the plot.

That said, off of the strength of the characters alone, and the potential of the premise, there is no way I’m not continuing to follow this series.