Written by Mick Herron

Number 3 in Slough House

Publisher: Soho Crime
Pages: 343
Genre: Thriller, Mystery, Espionage, Crime
Published: 2016-01-19
Original Language: English

London’s Slough House is where disgraced MI5 operatives are reassigned to spend the rest of their spy careers pushing paper. But when one of these “slow horses” is kidnapped by a former soldier bent on revenge, the agents must breach the defenses of Regent’s Park to steal valuable intel in exchange for their comrade’s safety. The kidnapping is only the tip of the iceberg, however, as the agents uncover a larger web of intrigue that involves not only a group of private mercenaries but also the highest authorities in the Security Service. After years spent as the lowest on the totem pole, the slow horses suddenly find themselves caught in the midst of a conspiracy that threatens not only the future of Slough House, but of MI5 itself.

Read from 2023-07-16 to 2023-08-25
Read in English
Rating: 4/5
Review: Aaaaand, we’re back. With Real Tigers, the Slow Horses series returns from the slightly preposterous movie-like second book of the series to the gritty, down-and-dirty espionage feel that I liked in the first book, and am hoping to get from the rest.

There’s enough double/triple crossing going on here that an attempt at a spoiler free synopsis would require a much better writer than I am, but there are basically levels of secret stuff going on, with people from the different levels tripping over each other when they try to do what they think they should be doing.

This is the kind of story that could easily get muddled, but it manages to balance on a fine line between the plot being chaotic without the story itself feeling chaotic. There are some great twists, and some compelling character-development for several of our Slow Horses main characters.

However, for a thriller, the book is a little light on thrills, even when the story is firing on all cylinders. I appreciate the humour that infuses these books, but I think that a feeling of never knowing whether a setup will end up in a punch or a punch-line distracts from a feeling of dread and tenseness that should also be part of a book like this. The book is exciting, the book is very funny, but the book doesn’t quite feel thrilling.

There’s also quite the setup here for the next book in the series, and while the series hasn’t gone on for long enough that I really knew what to expect, it looks like the path ahead may be less formulaic than I assumed a series of books such as these would be. I look forward to finding out!