Description of the book from the authors's site:
Slough House is Jackson Lamb’s kingdom; a dumping ground for members of the intelligence service who’ve screwed up: left a service file on a train, blown a surveillance, or become drunkenly unreliable. They’re the service’s poor relations – the slow horses – and bitterest among them is River Cartwright, whose days are spent transcribing mobile phone conversations.
But when a young man is abducted, and his kidnappers threaten to behead him live on the internet, River sees an opportunity to redeem himself. Is the victim who he first appears to be? And what’s the kidnappers’ connection with a disgraced journalist? As the clock ticks on the execution, River finds that everyone involved has their own agenda …
The author does a fine job of intertwining these pieces, revealing conspiracies and showing us the fallibilities of both the "slow horses" and the agents who are still working. It is scary that I found the entire scenario very believable. The story is told with humor, but it is subtle, not overt.
I liked the characterizations, not just the "slow horses" but the other members of MI5 that they deal with and even the kidnapped young man and his captors. Not many of these people were likable, but the depth of characterization made them believable and interesting. There were no cardboard characters.
There have been comparisons to Le Carre but then every new spy story is compared to Le Carre, unless it is in the James Bond vein, more adventurous. This is a story of the mundane side of espionage, and those who have been cast out from the inner circle and left to bide their time until they give up or retire. More than one reviewer has complained that the story was interesting in the first half, and suffered in the second half. This was not true for me; the story kept me interested throughout. It was not a fast-paced read, but I was never bored.
I purchased this book and read it fairly soon after getting my copy because I was eager to try Dead Lions, the author's sequel to Slow Horses. Dead Lions was the winner of the CWA Gold Dagger for crime fiction novel of 2013. I was pleased with this one, and hope I like Dead Lions as well.
Can somebody please help me? How is Slough as in Slough House pronounced?
Publisher: Published in the US March 11th 2014 by Soho Crime (first published January 1st 2010)
Length: 329 pages
Format: Trade paperback
Series: Slow Horses
Setting: London, UK
Genre: Espionage fiction
Source: Purchased my copy