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About Mick Herron
Mick Herron’s six Slough House novels have been shortlisted for eight CWA Daggers, winning twice, and shortlisted for the Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year three times. The first, Slow Horses, was picked as one of the best twenty spy novels of all time by the Daily Telegraph, while the most recent, Joe Country, was a Sunday Times top ten bestseller.
Mick Herron was born in Newcastle upon Tyne, and now lives in Oxford.
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Welcome to the thrilling and unnervingly prescient world of the slow horses. This team of MI5 agents is united by one common bond: They've screwed up royally and will do anything to redeem themselves.
This special tenth-anniversary deluxe edition of a modern classic includes a foreword by the author, discussion questions for book clubs, and an exclusive short story featuring the slow horses.
London, England: Slough House is where washed-up MI5 spies go to while away what’s left of their failed careers. The “slow horses,” as they’re called, have all disgraced themselves in some way to get relegated there. Maybe they botched an Op so badly they can’t be trusted anymore. Maybe they got in the way of an ambitious colleague and had the rug yanked out from under them. Maybe they just got too dependent on the bottle—not unusual in this line of work. One thing they have in common, though, is they want to be back in the action. And most of them would do anything to get there─even if it means having to collaborate with one another.
When a young man is abducted and his kidnappers threaten to broadcast his beheading live on the Internet, the slow horses see an opportunity to redeem themselves. But is the victim really who he appears to be?
“Confirms Mick Herron as the best spy novelist now working.”
—NPR's Fresh Air
Soon to be an Apple TV+ series starring Gary Oldman and Kristin Scott Thomas.
In London's MI5 headquarters a scandal is brewing that could disgrace the entire intelligence community. The Downing Street superforecaster—a specialist who advises the Prime Minister's office on how policy is likely to be received by the electorate—has disappeared without a trace. Claude Whelan, who was once head of MI5, has been tasked with tracking her down.
But the trail leads him straight back to Regent's Park itself, with First Desk Diana Taverner as chief suspect. Has Taverner overplayed her hand at last? Meanwhile, her Russian counterpart, Moscow intelligence's First Desk, has cheekily showed up in London and shaken off his escort. Are the two unfortunate events connected?
Over at Slough House, where Jackson Lamb presides over some of MI5's most embittered demoted agents, the slow horses are doing what they do best, and adding a little bit of chaos to an already unstable situation . . .
There are bad actors everywhere, and they usually get their comeuppance before the credits roll. But politics is a dirty business, and in a world where lying, cheating and backstabbing are the norm, sometimes the good guys can find themselves outgunned.
“This is a darker, scarier Herron. The gags are still there but the satire's more biting. The privatization of a secret service op and the manipulation of news is relevant and horribly credible.”—Ann Cleeves, author of the Vera Stanhope series
At Slough House—MI5’s London depository for demoted spies—Brexit has taken a toll. The “slow horses” have been pushed further into the cold, Slough House has been erased from official records, and its members are dying in unusual circumstances, at an unusual clip. No wonder Jackson Lamb's crew is feeling paranoid. But are they actually targets?
With a new populist movement taking hold of London's streets and the old order ensuring that everything's for sale to the highest bidder, the world's a dangerous place for those deemed surplus. Jackson Lamb and the slow horses are in a fight for their lives as they navigate dizzying layers of lies, power, and death.
Mick Herron, author of the Slough House novels, is on his way to becoming one of the most critically acclaimed and culturally important crime fiction writers of the twenty-first century. He has been awarded both the Gold and Steel Daggers by the Crime Writers’ Association and has been called “the John Le Carré of the future” (BBC). But Mick Herron does more than “just” write flawlessly suspenseful spy thrillers. He is a craftist of the highest order, irrepressibly versatile in form (novels, novellas, short fiction) and mood (witty, taut, spooky, laugh-out-loud funny), whose “efficient, darkly witty, tipped-with-imagery sentences . . . feel purpose-built to perforate [our] private daze of illiteracy” (The Atlantic).
Now, for the first time, Herron’s short fiction has been collected into one volume. In Dolphin Junction, devoted fans and future converts alike will find much to amuse, delight, and terrify them. Five standalone nerve-rackingly thrilling crime fiction stories are complemented by four mystery stories featuring the Oxford wife-and-husband detective team of shrewd Zoë Boehm and hapless Joe Silvermann. The collection also includes a peek into the past of Jackson Lamb, irascible top agent at Slough House.
The CWA Gold Dagger Award-winning British espionage novel about disgraced MI5 agents who inadvertently uncover a deadly Cold War-era legacy of sleeper cells and mythic super spies.
The disgruntled agents of Slough House, the MI5 branch where washed-up spies are sent to finish their failed careers on desk duty, are called into action to protect a visiting Russian oligarch whom MI5 hopes to recruit to British intelligence. While two agents are dispatched on that babysitting job, though, an old Cold War-era spy named Dickie Bow is found dead, ostensibly of a heart attack, on a bus outside of Oxford, far from his usual haunts.
But the head of Slough House, the irascible Jackson Lamb, is convinced Dickie Bow was murdered. As the agents dig into their fallen comrade's circumstances, they uncover a shadowy tangle of ancient Cold War secrets that seem to lead back to a man named Alexander Popov, who is either a Soviet bogeyman or the most dangerous man in the world. How many more people will have to die to keep those secrets buried?
London: Slough House is the MI5 branch where disgraced operatives are reassigned after they’ve messed up too badly to be trusted with real intelligence work. The “Slow Horses,” as the failed spies of Slough House are called, are doomed to spend the rest of their careers pushing paper, but they all want back in on the action.
When one of their own is kidnapped and held for ransom, the agents of Slough House must defeat the odds, overturning all expectations of their competence, to breach the top-notch security of MI5’s intelligence headquarters, Regent’s Park, and steal valuable intel in exchange for their comrade’s safety. The kidnapping is only the tip of the iceberg, however—the agents uncover a larger web of intrigue that involves not only a group of private mercenaries but the highest authorities in the Secret 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.
“Mick Herron is the John le Carré of our generation.”—Val McDermid
At MI5 headquarters Regent’s Park, First Desk Claude Whelan is learning the ropes the hard way. Tasked with protecting a beleaguered prime minister, he’s facing attack from all directions: from the showboating MP who orchestrated the Brexit vote, and now has his sights set on Number Ten; from the showboat’s wife, a tabloid columnist, who’s crucifying Whelan in print; from the PM’s favorite Muslim, who’s about to be elected mayor of the West Midlands, despite the dark secret he’s hiding; and especially from his own deputy, Lady Di Taverner, who’s alert for Claude’s every stumble. Meanwhile, the country’s being rocked by an apparently random string of terror attacks.
Over at Slough House, the MI5 satellite office for outcast and demoted spies, the agents are struggling with personal problems: repressed grief, various addictions, retail paralysis, and the nagging suspicion that their newest colleague is a psychopath. Plus someone is trying to kill Roddy Ho. But collectively, they’re about to rediscover their greatest strength—that of making a bad situation much, much worse.
It’s a good thing Jackson Lamb knows the rules. Because those things aren’t going to break themselves.
These are the paranoid concerns of David Cartwright, a Cold War–era operative and one-time head of MI5 who is sliding into dementia, and questions his grandson, River, must figure out answers to now that the spy who raised him has started to forget to wear pants. But River, himself an agent at Slough House, MI5’s outpost for disgraced spies, has other things to worry about. A bomb has detonated in the middle of a busy shopping center and killed forty innocent civilians. The “slow horses” of Slough House must figure out who is behind this act of terror before the situation escalates.
In Slough House, the London outpost for disgraced MI5 spies, memories are stirring, all of them bad. Catherine Standish is buying booze again, Louisa Guy is raking over the ashes of lost love, and new recruit Lech Wicinski, whose sins make him an outcast even among the slow horses, is determined to discover who destroyed his career, even if he tears his life apart in the process.
Meanwhile, in Regent’s Park, Diana Taverner’s tenure as First Desk is running into difficulties. If she’s going to make the Service fit for purpose, she might have to make deals with a familiar old devil . . .
And with winter taking its grip, Jackson Lamb would sooner be left brooding in peace, but even he can’t ignore the dried blood on his carpets. So when the man responsible for killing a slow horse breaks cover at last, Lamb sends the slow horses out to even the score.
Zoë Boehm has harbored a distinct aversion to death ever since she shot the man intent on killing her. So when Caroline Daniels takes a deadly fall in front of a train and her lover fails to turn up at the funeral, Zoë wants nothing to do with the case. But Caroline’s boss is persistent, and as Zoë attempts to unlock the secrets of a woman she’s never met while in search of a man who could be anywhere, she starts to wonder if he’s found her first. And if he has, will that make her the next victim, or prove to be her salvation from a paralyzing fear?
When a house explodes in a quiet Oxford suburb and a girl disappears in the aftermath, Sarah Tucker—a young married woman, bored and unhappy with domestic life—becomes obsessed with finding her. Accustomed to dull chores in a childless household and hosting her husband’s wearisome business clients for dinner, Sarah suddenly finds herself questioning everything she thought she knew as her investigation reveals that people long believed dead are still among the living, while the living are fast joining the dead. What begins in a peaceful neighborhood reaches its climax on a remote, unwelcoming Scottish island as the search puts Sarah in league with a man being hunted down by murderous official forces.
It’s also what happens just before you hit the ground.
Old spooks carry the memory of tradecraft in their bones, and when Solomon Dortmund sees an envelope being passed from one pair of hands to another in a Marylebone café, he knows he’s witnessed more than an innocent encounter. But in relaying his suspicions to John Bachelor, who babysits retired spies like Solly for MI5, he sets in motion a train of events that will alter lives.