Book Review: Mick Herron – Slow Horses (Slough House book 1)

  • Originally posted on January 26, 2019

Sometimes the critics get it wrong. Even the fellow authors themselves, believe that a novel is excellent, but it is actually unsatisfactory.

They got it correct with Slow Horses, the first in Mick Herron’s Slough House series. From the moment go, a seemingly terrible event takes place, before Herron introduces the ‘slow horses’ in an inventive way, both clarifying the way they all view their colleagues (generally dislike, but it is often far deeper) and the troubles they are all facing. Slough House, is after all, the place where agents who have failed greatly go to get quietly shuffled out of the service.

But just when it all looks like it’s over for them, the news that an Internet broadcast detailing the beheading of a teenager is about to take place reaches the slow horses. And they get pulled into the drama, and soon they all seek the opportunity to further their own lives, in no matter how small a way.

The novel blends shocking twists (there are plenty of them) with gritty description and distinguishable characters, along with a dose of dark humour. The plot is so clever in that, not only is it hard to believe that someone has thought of it, but that it leaves no major loose ends at the end.

Perhaps it is clear that he wasn’t planning on writing a second book, or maybe he wanted to leave it open, but everything ties up very well in the end. Indeed, I felt like I was watching a three-part television drama while I was reading it, the imagery was so strong. Thankfully, there are at least four more novels in this series, and hopefully — considering the recent acclaim the books have received — a BBC drama will not be too far away.

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