Slow Horses: Jackson Lamb Thriller 1 - book cover
Thrillers & Suspense
  • Publisher : John Murray Publishers Ltd
  • Published : 01 Jan 2017
  • Pages : 0
  • ISBN-10 : 1473674182
  • ISBN-13 : 9781473674189
  • Language : English

Slow Horses: Jackson Lamb Thriller 1

Readers Top Reviews

Mary Josefina Cadejo
'Slow Horses' gives an accurate picture of twenty first century office life, that strange and fascinating world that many of us inhabit. A place of constant drama, an ongoing soap opera, made wilder and funnier when the office is run by Jackson Lamb. Who ignores all known health and safety regulations, office etiquette and more importantly, the spying rules enforced by the 'Dogs' of MI5. I loved Jackson Lamb. Even though his behaviour is often really gross. I ought to find him totally offensive etc. etc. But his refusal to conform is heroic. And I suspect, as more of his back story is revealed in the follow on books to 'Slow Horses', I might forgive Mr Lamb for farting so much. All the characters in 'Slow Horses' are full of life. I especially loved Roddy, Catherine and Hassan. And River and the O.B. Plus the politician who must be Boris Johnson. There's a great scene set in his Islington kitchen. It's all laughter and tears and the messy reality of human life. And spying. I'm sure spying has to be as dysfunctional as everything else in twenty first century London. Where I live and work btw. Compulsive reading for me. I'm already half way through the second book in the series!
Slow Horses concentrates on the doings of Slough House, a dead end dumping ground for disgraced and flunked MI5 spooks and their arch washout, the torpid Jackson Lamb, a burnt out field operative who supervises from a gloomy garret of an office on the top floor. The book starts slowly. So slowly it is easy to give up on it before the plot gets going; I know I came close. At first, there is little to enjoy about these frustrated characters and their lives spiraling in ever decreasing circles of bitterness and mutual loathing. There are lots of interior monologues, lots of seeing the same thing from different angles and a certain amount of self indulgence on the author's part as he sets the scene with wordy relish. Herron's mannered style can grate on occasion but I'm glad I persevered. All these disparate strands come together and the story comes to life in the second half of the book. By the end I was cheering them on. Do read if you like intricate plots, downbeat characters and unexpected heroes. Don't read if you are looking for action men, femmes fatales, car chases, pacy plotting or glamour.
Jim D
Mick Herron has been compared with a number of writers, even Le Carre, but he really is incomparable in both senses of the word; I have encountered no-one with a style quite like his, and he is very, very good. In the Slough Street series (I haven't read any of his other books, yet) he displays mastery of plot and suspense. Quick changes back and forth between events in different locales speed the action along, and they are genuinely hard to put down. The prose is laconic, but little asides and descriptions, dripped like drops of acid into the text, are effective in giving a sense of character to both person and place. There’s a wry smile to be wrung from nearly every page. Herron has shot himself in the foot in one way, though: sale of film rights seem unlikely to me. It would take a brave producer to have it filmed, and an even braver actor to take the lead role. Antisocial, scruffy, farting, scratching, drinking, smoking Jackson Lamb has to be the most unlikely protagonist (“hero” is simply not the right word) of any spy series, ever. Perhaps a TV series could be managed, but you're looking at something with the social skills of Doc Martin, the dress sense of Vera and the personal hygiene of roadkill. One bit of advice: read them in order. There is continuity of essential personnel from book to book, but there are casualties as well as replacements along the way, and back stories may be difficult to pick up or understand if you don't know who is (or was) who. I await the next Slough Street book eagerly.
J. Lesley
Slough House is the place where the rejects go. The hope is that the MI5 agents reassigned to work out of Slough House will eventually take the hint that their days of performing useful work are over and resign from the service. Sometimes that does happen, but more often they hang around wondering what they can do to get back in the good graces of those in charge. Slow Horses are what the mess-up agents are called and they work out of a place called Slough House with each agent trying to overcome the mistake which sent them to that purgatory. When Jackson Lamb is asked to run an errand for Regent's Park he sends River Cartwright on his first out-of-the-office job since he landed in Slough House eight months earlier. How can bringing in trash bags to search for unknown evidence possibly link up with the video of the hooded man waiting while the time limit for his beheading tick slowly by? I enjoyed this tremendously. It was like going home to all the wonderful spy novels written years ago because Herron got everything right for me. The atmosphere within a super secret spy organization, the interactions between the agents, the unraveling of details to help explain why an assignment had gone the way it had and the climbing over other agents in order to improve career opportunities, all of it was there. These characters have come fully formed from the author's imagination and I am definitely looking forward to seeing how they react together in the next book. Thank goodness I have four more to read!
Trevor Mallard
Slow Horses? Supposedly by one of the best “intelligence” novelists and an award-winning series. But it gets off to a slow start. A very slow start. In fact, some might not even make it to the place where a hint of a hint of a plot emerges. Much of the first part of the book is “character development” … But those who persevere are in for the reward. There is indeed a plot. In fact more than one, intertwined as it were. And in looking back one can see that all that character development was worthwhile, or maybe just setting up the reader for the wonders that follow. Bottom line, in retrospect, a great read. The American reader may well want to brush up on British slang, for there are many insights conveyed through words unfamiliar to most of us. I am now headed for the next two books in the series, Dead Lions and Real Tigers.