Friday 31 March 2023

Real Tigers (Slough House #3)

I raced through the Slough House series by Mick Herron after reading an interview with one of my favourite writers, Mary Lawson, who recommended them.  These well-written, fast-moving spy thrillers with a nice line in humour and a central London setting are just what I need right now.  

Slough House just went live. The four of you are up.

London is sweltering in a heatwave and tempers are fraying in Slough House the building for washed up spies on the wrong side of the river.  Leaving work Catherine Standish runs into an old acquaintance from her Regent's Park days.  Catherine knows that chance encounters don't happen to spooks and tries to go to ground on London's streets but can't shake off her tail.  Bundled into a van and asked by her kidnappers which one of her colleagues she trusts the most she names River Cartwright. Which could be a mistake.

Catherine's disappearance raises alarm bells back at Slough House led by the hard-drinking, smoking, flatulent Jackson Lamb, a former spook from the Berlin days.

'This is the Secret Service. Not frigging Woman's Hour.'  

Young River Cartwright is an interesting character.  Exiled to Slough House since he crashed King's Cross in a training exercise (even though he was set up) he is impulsive to say the least and can't stand the tedium of admin work. Swinging into action he embroils his colleagues (known as the slow horses - a pun on Slough House) into a violent situation where, as always, they are largely unarmed, ill-informed and unprepared.  But at least it gets them out of the office.

Real Tigers is one of my favourites in the series because the weather reflects the action.  As the heatwave finally breaks the violet hour gives way to darkness and a soft rain falls over London.  

This is the noise the rain always makes; the soft sighing of the pavements.


JaneGS said...

Okay, another series for me to get hooked on! I like Mary Lawson so I will be checking out this author/series as well. I really like the premise of Real Tigers.

MI6 said...

Love Mick Herron’s Slow Horses and Jackson Lamb? Interested in real spies like Kim Philby, John le CarrĂ©, Alan Pemberton or Bill Fairclough and how they got on with the SAS? Then read Beyond Enkription in The Burlington Files espionage series about the real scoundrels in MI6 aka Pemberton’s People. See a brief and intriguing News Article dated 31 October 2022 in TheBurlingtonFiles website and get ready to call your local film producer!

Kat at Thornfield Hall Redux said...

Nicola, I am a fan of Mich Herron, too. These are so fast-paced. I am addicted. Still have a couple to go and it looks as though there are novellas, too!

TracyK said...

I like this series too. I enjoy spy fiction and Herron is one of the best current writers in this area, in my opinion. I have read all but the two most recent books, Slough House and Bad Actors. I have also read (and enjoyed) two of the books from his earlier series about Zoe Boehm and Sarah Tucker.

And now, since you mentioned Mary Lawson, I am going to try one of her books. I like to read books set in Canada, and her books sound very good.

Vintage Reading said...

Jane, they are very addictive! I would recommend starting with the first book in the series Slow Horses.

Kat, yes read one of the novellas. Can't put them down.

Tracy, yes I've finished Bad Actors now. Hope we will get another book soon. It has made me want to read John Le Carre now. Regarding the wonderful Mary Lawson I would recommend Crow Lake.

thecuecard said...

Ahhh I've seen the TV series based on the books. Very good and the books sound enjoyable too. Recently read Mary Lawson's latest one Town Called Solace .... good stuff!!

Peggy said...

It's a great series if you can ignore the anti-Asian racism. It crept up on me, and I think by this 3rd book I'd had enough. It's too bad, because aside from the racism I enjoyed the books. It's just the portrayal of Roddy got to be too much for me. Haven't seen this kind of caricature of an Asian male in the US since maybe the 1980s.

Vintage Reading said...

Cue Card I'm a huge Mary Lawson fan, too!

Penny, I haven't heard this criticism of the book before. I don't believe that Mick Herron's intention was to create a caricature. But something to consider, certainly.