It’s painful to admit to being late to the party, but here I am, “discovering” a writer, long after everyone else has been a fan for years.

“Slow Horses” was published in 2010, so – yup – this is more than a decade late. There’s even a TV series based on the novel, but that’s not how I came across the book. A kind house-guest left it behind, so at least I’m not the only person reading this smashing book 12 years after its publication…

This is a spy novel somewhat in the manner of John Le Carré, in that Mr. Herron brings his characters vividly to life, quirks, eccentricities, unpleasant habits, tribal vocabulary and all.

Slough House, in London, is an outpost of the main spy HQ, and is a place for misfits. Spies who have messed up, either professionally or personally, are banished there, to lead dull, resentful lives in dull surroundings.

Mr. Herron skilfully makes these demoted, demoralised pen-pushers into stand-out characters, and our sympathies are 100% on their side, rather than with their sleeker, more successful colleagues in Regent’s Park, the main office.

Even though technology plays a big part in this novel, often at/in the hands of Roderick Ho, a misfit if ever there was one, the book has aged very well. It doesn’t seem as though the Slough House joes are using 12 year old technology.

Gripping, well-written, and full of surprises.


And now to catch up on the second book in the Jackson Lamb series.

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