Review: Slow Horses – Mick Heron

Sloan House 1

My version: Paperback
Genre: Fiction, British Espionage
First published: 2015
ISBN: 978-1-473-64110-5
Pages: 328

You don’t stop being a spook just because you’re no longer in the game.
Banished to Slough House from the ranks of achievers at Regent’s Park for various crimes of drugs and drunkenness, lechery and failure, politics and betrayal, Jackson Lamb’s misfit crew of highly trained joes, don’t run ops, they push paper.
But not one of them joined the intelligence service to be a ‘slow horse.’
A boy is kidnapped and held hostage. His beheading is scheduled for live broadcast on the internet.
And whatever the instructions of the service, the slow horses aren’t going to just sit quiet and watch…

It’s been done to death rather, hasn’t it? The group of incongruous individuals fate or their superiors have thrown together, to get rid of them, who, despite their many character flaws, insouciance, rudeness, maverick … you know, suddenly merge into a team and get the business done. Old as the hills, I imagine. They all have skills that will come into good use at some point in the plot, hopefully before the book ends.

So, we know where we’re going with Slow Horses, from before we even open a page. How does Mick Heron get us there? Very nicely indeed, actually. Despite the cliched background, you warm – or not – to most of his characters and are rooting for them to stick it to The Man before the end. The main man is Jackson Lamb, an interesting creation I’ll leave you to read about elsewhere. The do it, or not, I don’t care, attitude and the doing stuff behind the scenes, as it were, is both reminiscent of Len Deighton and a great way to get you hooked for the rest of the series.

It can’t be easy going full-tilt into the Britich spy genre, while John le Carre is still around. Well, more for my generation I guess, as we grew up on JlC and think that what he set out, is how it was/is. Trying to create your own world, with your own restraints and ‘history’ can not be easy. Which may be why Mick Heron wen’t down this sort of route, Obviously time and not least technology have moved on from Smiley’s hey-day, so there is room for a new writer to claim the territory. Why not Mick Heron.

As per the photograph above, it appears that Apple TV have ‘picked up’ the books (some of them at least, I’d imagine, incase they stiff) and will be, if all goes well, be running a series with what appears to be Gary Oldman as Jackson Lamb.

You can buy Slow Horses from The Book Depository

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