I just finished reading Mick Herron’s Slough House. It is the latest in his Slow Horses series. It didn’t disappoint, though it took me a while to finish the book. Herron is widely viewed as the new John le Carre. And in this book, you can see why. I am not sure I am ready to put him in the same class. If le Carre’s books gave you a glimpse into the art of spycraft from a professional, Herron does a great job of giving a contemporary feel to his books.
This is a unique skill — we live in a society with an increasing attention deficit, and the recent past gives the book more relevance. This blurring of reality and imagination is quite a heady mix, so I can’t stop reading Herron’s books. Of course, the new book has only reaffirmed my affection for his main character, Jackson Lamb, who is fast becoming a memorable fictional spy. He is a malcontent, with great one-liners and putdowns. This down on luck spymaster overseeing a brood of has-beens, while not as cerebral le’ Carre’s superstar character, George Smiley, is worth binging on.
I am looking forward to watching Gary Oldman play Lamb in the forthcoming Apple TV series. Goldman also played Smiley in the 2011 movie Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy. Kristin Scott Thomas plays the other main character. Diana Taverner.
I won’t give anything away. If you like spy novels, then you should read this book. It is wonderful and feels very ripped-from-the-pages-of now. It even has a character who is a bit of a fop, rides a bicycle, and has ambitions to lead the nation. Can you guess who?