London's Slough House is where disgraced MI5 spies go to while away what's left of their washed-up careers. Now they have a chance at redemption. An old Cold War-era spy is found dead on a bus outside Oxford, far from his usual haunts. Slough House's head honcho, the despicable, irascible Jackson Lamb is convinced Dickie Bow was murdered. As the agents dig into the 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?
About the Author
Mick Herron is a British novelist and short story writer who was born in Newcastle and studied English at Oxford. He is the author of six books in the Slough House series (Slow Horses, Dead Lions, Real Tigers, Spook Street, London Rules, and the novella The List) and four Oxford mysteries (Down Cemetery Road, The Last Voice You Hear, Why We Die, and Smoke and Whispers), as well as the standalone novels Reconstruction, Nobody Walks and This Is What Happened. His work has won the CWA Gold Dagger for Best Crime Novel, the Steel Dagger for Best Thriller, and the Ellery Queen Readers Award, and been nominated for the Macavity, Barry, Shamus, and Theakstons Novel of the Year Awards. He currently lives in Oxford and writes full-time.
Read an Excerpt
A fuse had blown in Swindon, so the south-west network ground to a halt. In Paddington the monitors wiped departure times, flagging everything ‘Delayed’, and stalled trains clogged the platforms; on the concourse luckless travellers clustered round suitcases, while seasoned commuters repaired to the pub, or rang home with cast-iron alibis before hooking up with their lovers back in the city. And thirty-six minutes outside London, a Worcester-bound HST crawled to a halt on a bare stretch of track with a view of the Thames. Lights from houseboats pooled on the river’s surface, illuminating a pair of canoes which whipped out of sight even as Dickie Bow registered them: two frail crafts built for speed, furrowing the water on a chilly March evening.
Excerpted from "Dead Lions"
Copyright © 2014 Mick Herron.
Excerpted by permission of Soho Press.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This is a very entertaining suspense story. Set in London, the action centers around a branch office of MI5, British Intelligence. On this branch, most of the leaves are withering or malformed. This is where MI5 sends it's castoffs and screwups hoping they will quit the service or slowly rot away. The small department is full of quirky characters. Chief among them is Jackson Lamb, perhaps the quirkiest of the sorry lot. Lamb, however, does remember the old days of the Cold War when real spies faced off against each other. When a former low level British spy turns up dead on a bus, Lamb refuses to believe it is due to natural causes. Is he just trying to shake off the dust of years of inactivity or is there perhaps some justification for his belief that the Russians are up to no good? The story is full of red herrings along with a great cast of characters who are more or less interested in chasing them down. A follow up book certainly would be on my reading list. Book provided for review by the well read folks at Soho Press.
Dead Lions is the second novel in the Slough House series by British author, Mick Herron. Slough House is where the spook screw-ups from MI5 who, for some reason or other, can’t be sacked, are sent. There they are set such tedious, mind-numbing tasks it’s hoped they will be fed-up enough to quit. Slough House doesn’t have a big staff, currently just seven under the control of Jackson Lamb. They had a bit of unexpected action a few months ago, so there are empty desks and a few new faces. Ordinarily, there are no ops from Slough House: the Slow Horses can’t be trusted with anything that matters. But the recent death, on a bus, of Cold War spy, Dickie Bow has Jackson Lamb looking closer, and soon his smartest young spy, River Cartwright is in place in a sleepy Cotswolds village trying to track down a Russian agent. Meanwhile, two of Lamb’s slow horses are seconded by River’s nemesis at Regent’s Park, James (Spider) Webb, for “babysitting” duty in Russian oil talks. Is there a connection? Once again, Herron gives the reader a fast-paced spy novel of a very different sort. The premise is original, and the execution is inspired. The characters are all credibly flawed, their dialogue is full of dry wit, and there is plenty of humour, most of it very black and very British, with an abundance of laugh out loud moments. There are twists and red herrings and the reader will find it hard not to cheer these misfits on as they do their best. Readers will be pleased to learn there are two and a half further volumes of this series for their entertainment and enjoyment. Another brilliant read!
This read like a classic cold war tale of the LeCarre or MacInnes era. Jackson Lamb (mildly reminiscent of another outcast detective, Carl Morck) heads up an outpost for MI5 that is made up of misfits, placed there for various disgraces in their earlier postings. When the death of an old, low-level spook captures Lamb's interest, the book takes off all over England, chasing down leads and red herrings to the finale. It took a while to settle in to the choppy and constant changes between people, but all in all, a read I think even my dad would have ok'd.
Interesting characters, Google story!
I was forewarned that it might take a bit to get into this story, but once in....*whoosh*!!!! Outstanding, suspenseful, dry-humored, very intriguing and engaging characters and what a premise! Slough House is where MI5 sends its less-than-fab agents in hopes that they will give up after the drudge-tasks they are given and won't be there long enough for retirement bennies. Agent-in-charge of Slough House, for lack of a better term, is an overweight, less-than-hygienic man by the name of Jackson Lamb. He would be a difficult person to be around, but in his own time, he gets things done. Some take him as is, some take him as a challenge. He doesn't care one or the other. He just wants to solve what he knows has to be the murder of a past agent, found dead on a bus. I think Lamb has secrets on everyone and it is a joy watching him work and cause dismay and disgust in his wake. I plan on getting everything that Mick Herron writes and has written. I get that way from time to time with some authors and Mick Herron is one of those. Seeing MI5 without the mystery and oooooooh factor often portrayed and seeing it as a bureaucratic behemoth that it likely is was superb. Definite recommendation.