SLOUGH HOUSE

 
Full Name: Slough House
Nationality: British
Organization: MI-5
Occupation Agency

Creator: Mick Herron
Time Span: 2010 - 2017
ABOUT THE SERIES

       Slough House is a department of MI-5.
       "Let us be clear about this much at least: Slough House is not in Slough, nor is it a houseā€¦"
       That is the opening line in the first recorded adventure of those who work in Slough House. If anyone really considers what they do there as work. Oh, they do things. They are given orders and tasks and eventually those deeds are usually completed but is any of it needed by anyone or is it busy-work? No one can really say, or if they can they certainly do not.
       Slough House is the "dumping ground" for those members of MI-5 who have screwed up. What the infraction might be could easily vary, and does, but the destination for the "crime" is the same - get thee to Slough House. Drink too much or gamble too much or mess up an assignment or follow the wrong guy or let a protectee get dispatched or just really ticked off a higher-up and you become one of the 'slow horses' as the nickname goes for the denizens of this less than desirable posting. The poor fools who are directed to show up there every day did not do anything bad enough to get sacked outright but there is no doubt that it is hoped that with enough coaxing by menial tasks and lousy environs the bulb will come on above each of their heads that finding other employment is in order. So far, most have either not seen the light or ignored it or really weren't that bright in the first place.
       Running the show at Slough House, or just herding the stock as some people consider it, is Jackson Lamb. Lamb is a most unusual man. He is considerably overweight and out of shape and yet he can, if needed, move with speed and grace that is a tad surprising and unsettling. His face could turn ten shades of red from exertion as he climbed a flight of stairs but it is a good chance you would not have heard him come up. He is very intelligent and capable when he wants to be but he most definitely would not go out of his way to make any of his charges know that. He is the king of all he surveys, or at least all that occupy the House and he can be quite a sarcastic tyrant when he wishes.
       Lamb almost certainly does not like any of those forced to work at Slough House. It is a dead certainty that none of them like him.

BOOKS

Number of Books:4
First Appearance:2010
Last Appearance:2017

1 Slow Horses Slow Horses
Written by Mick Herron
Copyright: 2010

River Cartwright has been banished to Slough House and he greatly resents being one of the Slow Horses. When he learns of a young man being kidnapped and the snatchers are threatening to behead him, Cartwright sees a way out of exile but as he looks more and more into it, he finds that everyone remotely connected has his or her own motive and desires and none seem to be saving the lad nor getting Cartwright out of the House. Least of all Jackson Lamb.

2 Dead Lions Dead Lions
Written by Mick Herron
Copyright: 2013

Some of the agents relegated to Slough House are pulled for special duty to protect a wealthy visiting Russian bigwig. Then an old spy from the Cold War days is found dead on a bus. No one thinks the two are connected except their boss Jackson Lamb and he decides investigation is in order, even though he has to use his people who have no use for him.

3 Real Tigers Real Tigers
Written by Mick Herron
Copyright: 2016

No one has any real use for the spies sent to "work" at Slough House. Then one of them is kidnapped. Now to find out who and why and get their own back, they have to break into MI-5 headquarters to get the ransom demand.

4 Spook Street Spook Street
Written by Mick Herron
Copyright: 2017

What does a spy agency do with an old spy with Alzheimer's who knows too many secrets but often cannot remember they are secret? David Cartwright was one of the best and he is losing the mental fight of his life. His grandson, River, has other worries, though, like who bombed a shopping center killed forty people.

NOVELLAS AND SHORT STORIES

Number of Stories:1
First Appearance:2015
Last Appearance:2015

1 The List The List
Written by Mick Herron
Copyright: 2015

When the old spy, Dieter Hess, died, his passing put his handler into a lot of hot water after it was discovered the deceased had a sizable second bank account and the source for the funds is unknown.

MY COMMENTS

       I loved this series! I want to get that out right away to make sure nothing I say further can detract from that.
       Back in my drinking days, I was lucky enough to be stationed in Scotland where a friend introduced me to the sublime pleasure of single-malt Scotch whiskey. He went further in coaxing me to try, one a fortnight, different ones to see the difference. Over time I got a fairly good appreciation of the difference and saw that while all were excellent, some were even better. The same is true with a good series.
       Slough House is one of those exceptional series that does not come along all that often. Each book is wonderfully different and yet each is similarly wonderful.
       One of my unofficial requirements for liking a series is usually that I greatly enjoy the main character and root for him or her to win over terrible odds. I get to feel the protagonist is a close friend and that person's victory is by extension my own. What makes the Slough House series so unique is that I really do not like any of the characters (well, River Cartwright is okay) and yet I still loved the series.
       And then there is the (hopefully) one of a kind - Jackson Lamb. Several books into the series I still do not quite get Lamb and yet I am fascinated by him. He is the one constant throughout the series (so far) and the author on his website refers to the books as the Jackson Lamb series but he is not the star of all the books and for that I am grateful because Lamb is not a dish to be eaten too often. But he is always interesting.
       It is the writing that is so exquisite. The first book has Cartwright having to search through garbage and the author had me deep in the pile of yuck almost smelling the rot and definitely wanting to wash my hands afterwards and yet still fascinated by the whole experience. In the second book, the author needed to introduce a few of the main occupants of the offices and he used an imaginary cat to prowl the spaces and I saw this cat move about the spaces and saw the people it almost met and I missed the cat when it finally left the area - get that? I missed a cat that was fictional inside a fiction book.
       With any luck there will be more books in the series in years to come and while I may no longer partake of my adored Scotch, I will continue to savor the joys of Slough House.

GRADE

My Grade: A+

Your Average Grade:   A++-

YOUR OPINIONS
raven4 A++- 2017-04-28

Probably a carry over from Charlie Muffin and my military days, but any time a bunch of "screwups" can make the establishment look bad, I am all for it.


Tell us what you think of the series. Give your grade and comments.

Your Grade:
Your Comments:

To give your opinion, you must be logged in.

Sign In

Register