I’ve missed a couple or so of books out since my last review; a Susan Sontag, a couple of John Bergers. Good books in themselves but the Sontag on Photography was heavier than a Box Brownie on a tripod and John Berger writes like an Olympian. But a week or two ago, looking for a holiday read for a short trip to Spain I picked up on the author Mick Herron during an interview on the BBC TV show, Meet The Author. A bit of research led me to the author’s series of novels about British spy Jackson Lamb and the Slough House stories. So I bought the first and second in the series, Slow Horses and Dead Lions. I just finished Slow Horses.
I usually steer clear of the Crime and Thriller shelves in book shops but the last time I read a spy novel was the conclusion of the George Smiley series by John Le Carre in Benalmadena, Spain 4 years ago. And I enjoyed the lot of them. A skim of the cover suggested these novels would be good so Slow Horses became my holiday reading of choice. And what a book! A great read, a real page turner (I know, I know), unputdownable.
Jackson Lamb is a blown up, washed out British spy, long beyond his Bond days but like the footballer Teddy Sheringham, his brain is worth an extra yard of pace. Exiled to the attic office of the run down building that is Slough House, Lamb presides over a motley assortment of has beens, never have beens and nor never will be’s. And yet when a young man is abducted and his kidnappers threaten to behead him, it’s Lamb’s Slow Horses who are dragged into the fray for a final sprint round the track.
The language, the characters, the story all contribute to a dynamic, rewarding read. I’ve finished the first and the fifth, London Rules has just been published. I aim to read the lot and I wouldn’t blame you if you did either.