Slough House 1: Slow Horses – Mick Herron

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Norwegian title: Sløve hester

Happy New Year friends!

I hope everyone has had a relaxing holiday and are now prepared for 2021! I’ve finished a peculiar crime novel. Enjoyable to some extent but not in the top notch for me. I think I agree with Shrek here: this novel has many layers just like an onion. The synopsis is borrowed from Goodreads:

You don’t stop being a spook just because you’re no longer in the game.

Banished to Slough House from the ranks of achievers at Regent’s Park for various crimes of drugs and drunkenness, lechery and failure, politics and betrayal, Jackson Lamb’s misfit crew of highly trained joes don’t run ops, they push paper. But not one of them joined the Intelligence Service to be a ‘slow horse’.

A boy is kidnapped and held hostage. His beheading is scheduled for live broadcast on the net. And whatever the instructions of the Service, the slow horses aren’t going to just sit quiet and watch…

Slow Horses is in many ways a strange yet intriguing crime novel. When you start to read you get the sense that there is a backstory you’ve missed in a previous book. I had to Google a little in order to gain clarity on this and yes, this is the first book in the series. Thus, I suspect that we will gain clearer insight into this mysterious world as the series progresses. I’m reading the second book in midst January with a fellow book friend so I’ll let you know how I like that one! Otherwise, Slow Horses is a peculiar book because there is action without action, and this is where my perspective with layers comes in. The story moves between several levels at the same time. One character might be on, lets say level 1, at some point before they move to level 3 or 4 whilst other characters might be on other levels. Sometimes they coexist on the same level. Each level is connected, although this connection might be vague, and then it develops on its own accord before all the levels connects neatly together at the end of the story. Be warned though, this final connection might not make sense right away either. I get the sense that Mr. Herron enjoys keeping his reader forever wondering how everything is connected and within this, I suspect, lies his ability to mesmerize his readers. Sadly, I wasn’t as intrigued as I suspect I could have been. It was a little too much thinking for my taste alongside with a quirky and unorthodox flavor but its good to step out of ones comfort zone every ones in a while. I’m intrigued enough to read the second book so Mr. Herron is leading me onto a new reading path here!

Characters. Let me just say that Jackson Lamb, one of the greater main characters, is disgusting. Both physically and mentally. I would not have wanted him as a boss whatsoever. Well maybe not whatsoever but almost, haha. He is rude, obnoxious, unappreciative, manipulative, and clever. I have a strong feeling that we’ll learn more about him and his shenanigans in the series, and that this first book only showed his worst sides. We touch upon his past very briefly during this book, as we do with the other characters as well, but I have a feeling there is a lot more to the story. Then there is River Cartwright who had his whole career ahead of him until it all went wrong. When we first make the acquaintance of Cartwright we get the sense that something is wrong with his story. We learn about his career-dumping blunder very early in the story, and yet it doesn’t make sense. I like Cartwright as a character. He seems more attentive than his other colleagues in Slough House, maybe because he is the newest member, but I also enjoy his ability to bounce back from his blunder and be ready for the next mission. I’m very excited to see how his character develops in the next book!

Slow Horses is a, for me, unorthodox and thought-demanding crime novel. It was a little too thought-demanding for me but I enjoyed the challenge. It’s a 4 star read for me. A little more action would have made it even better but I’m still going to read the next book and I’m curious about the development!

Published: 2015

Genre: Crime novel

Theme: Outcasts, London, abduction

– The Book Reader

Sløve hester

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