Written by Mick Herron

Number 5 in Slough House

Publisher: John Murray
Pages: 352
Genre: Thriller, Mystery, Espionage, Crime
Published: 2018-06-05
Original Language: English

London Rules might not be written down, but everyone knows rule one. Cover your arse. Regent's Park's First Desk, Claude Whelan, is learning this the hard way. Tasked with protecting a beleaguered prime minister, he's facing attack from all directions himself: from the showboating MP who orchestrated the Brexit vote, and now has his sights set on Number Ten; from the showboat's wife, a tabloid columnist, who's crucifying Whelan in print; and especially from his own deputy, Lady Di Taverner, who's alert for Claude's every stumble. Meanwhile, the country's being rocked by an apparently random string of terror attacks, and someone's trying to kill Roddy Ho. Over at Slough House, the crew are struggling with personal problems: repressed grief, various addictions, retail paralysis, and the nagging suspicion that their newest colleague is a psychopath. But collectively, they're about to rediscover their greatest strength - that of making a bad situation much, much worse. It's a good job Jackson Lamb knows the rules. Because those things aren't going to break themselves.

Read from 2023-12-19 to 2023-12-31
Read in English
Rating: 4.5/5
Review: When I started reading the Slough House series, I assumed that it would be different stories based around the same template. Nothing wrong with that: I’m perfectly happy to read books which are built using the same formula, as long as that formula works. After London Rules I’ve stopped thinking that the author is trying to find a formula, and have started thinking that these books will just continue being fresh and new every time. This book is very different from the preceding ones, and it’s my favourite one yet.

It’s not that it doesn’t start with action - it does - but we don’t really partake in it. The story takes place without (anti-)heroes trying to track down an apparent group of terrorists, and trying to stop them committing further acts of terrorism. It’s very, very, light on action compared to the previous books - with the majority of the focus being on the processes behind the scenes in trying to find them. Despite the lack of shooty shooty stuff, I was gripped.

This book also got the humour just right - it’s still a book with a joke dropped into every other sentence, but in an improvement from parts of the previous books, this time it felt completely effortless, and I didn’t get the feeling that the humour was being shoehorned into a serious story. The story kept all of it’s gravity, while also keeping me smiling. Hopefully the series will keep me smiling for many books to come.