I haven’t read a spy novel in years. Not because I don’t like them but I’m not a fan of classic genre books. I always prefer when a genre is subverted and that is exactly what Mick Herron has done with Slow Horses and the rest of the Jackson Lamb series.
Slough House is where MI5 sends it’s rejects. Those spies and agents who they want to get rid of but for one reason or another they don’t necessarily want to fire. Instead they are transferred to Slough House to drown in paperwork until they quit. They’re nicknamed the Slow Horses and there’s no chance they will ever get near an official op ever again. Except this bunch of misfits, alcohol and drug abusers and all-round stuff ups, led by the repulsively charming Jackson Lamb, have a nose for trouble, usually for causing it, but that doesn’t stop them falling into it either, usually arse backwards.
Mick Herron has created a series the likes of which we haven’t seen since the halcyon days of John Le Carré or Graham Greene with a great modern-day twist. Smart, witty, plausible, political spy stories grounded in the real world told through a cast of characters who individually barely function but when thrown together under the auspices of a man whose time has well and truly been and gone but who still knows how to navigate himself and his team of agents through the seamy world of politics, double-dealing and back stabbing which is modern day upper management. Oh and the intelligence service.
This has been one of the best series to discover and to have four books to race through even better. If you love a good spy novel, one the will make you laugh as well as think (and even shiver about how the world works) then you can’t go past Mick Herron and the Jackson Lamb series
Series in order: