Slough House Thrillers
ou 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 .
Winner of the 2013 CWA Gold Dagger Award
Dickie Bow is not an obvious target for assassination.
But once a spook, always a spook. And Dickie was a talented streetwalker back in the day, before he turned up dead on a bus. A shadow. Good at following people, bringing home their secrets.
Dickie was in Berlin with Jackson Lamb. Now Lamb's got his phone, and on it the last secret Dickie ever told, and reason to believe an old-time Moscow-style op is being run in the Service's back-yard.
In the Intelligence Service purgatory that is Slough House, Jackson Lamb's crew of back-office no-hopers is about to go live . . .
Catherine Standish knows that chance encounters never happen to spooks.
She's worked in the Intelligence Service long enough to understand treachery, double-dealing and stabbing in the back. What she doesn't know is why anyone would target her: a recovering drunk pushing paper with the other lost causes in Jackson Lamb's kingdom of exiles at Slough House.
Whoever it is holding her hostage, it can't be personal. It must be about Slough House. Most likely, it is about Jackson Lamb. And say what you like about Lamb, he'll never leave a joe in the lurch.
He might even be someone you could trust with your life . . .
Never outlive your ability to survive a fight. Twenty years retired, David Cartwright can still spot when the stoats are on his trail.
Jackson Lamb worked with Cartwright back in the day. He knows better than most that this is no vulnerable old man. 'Nasty old spook with blood on his hands' would be a more accurate description.
'The old bastard' has raised his grandson with a head full of guts and glory. But far from joining the myths and legends of Spook Street, River Cartwright is consigned to Lamb's team of pen-pushing no-hopers at Slough House.
So it's Lamb they call to identify the body when Cartwright's panic button raises the alarm at Service HQ. And Lamb who will do whatever he thinks necessary, to protect an agent in peril . . .
London Rules might not be written down, but everyone knows rule one. Cover your arse.
Regent's Park's First Desk, Claude Whelan, is learning this the hard way. Tasked with protecting a beleaguered prime minister, he's facing attack from all directions himself: from the showboating MP who orchestrated the Brexit vote, and now has his sights set on Number Ten; from the showboat's wife, a tabloid columnist, who's crucifying Whelan in print; and especially from his own deputy, Lady Di Taverner, who's alert for Claude's every stumble.
Meanwhile, the country's being rocked by an apparently random string of terror attacks, and someone's trying to kill Roddy Ho.
Over at Slough House, the crew are struggling with personal problems: repressed grief, various addictions, retail paralysis, and the nagging suspicion that their newest colleague is a psychopath. But collectively, they're about to rediscover their greatest strength - that of making a bad situation much, much worse.
It's a good job Jackson Lamb knows the rules. Because those things aren't going to break themselves.
'We're spies,' said Lamb. 'All kinds of outlandish shit goes on.'
In Slough House memories are stirring, all of them bad. Catherine Standish is buying booze again, Louisa Guy is raking over the ashes of lost love, and new recruit Lech Wicinski, whose sins make him outcast even among the slow horses, is determined to discover who destroyed his career, even if he tears his life apart in the process.
And with winter taking its grip Jackson Lamb would sooner be left brooding in peace, but even he can't ignore the dried blood on his carpets. So when the man responsible breaks cover at last, Lamb sends the slow horses out to even the score.
This time, they're heading into joe country. And they're not all coming home.
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New paperback books published by John Murray
Book Dimensions: 20cm x 13 cm
As wells as the Slough House series, Nick Heron has written the Oxford series. The Slough House series is being dramatised for tv starring Gary Oldman as Jacson Lamb