London’s Slough House is where the washed-up MI5 spies go to while away what’s left of their failed careers. The "slow horses", as they’re called, have all disgraced themselves in some way to get relegated here. Maybe they messed up an op badly and can’t be trusted anymore. Maybe they got in the way of an ambitious colleague and had the rug yanked out from under them. Maybe they just got too dependent on the bottle - not unusual in this line of work. One thing they all have in common, though, is they all want to be back in the action. And most of them would do anything to get there - even if it means having to collaborate with one another.
Now the slow horses have a chance at redemption. An old Cold War-era spy is found dead on a bus outside Oxford, far from his usual haunts. The despicable, irascible Jackson Lamb is convinced Dickie Bow was murdered. As the agents dig into their fallen comrade’s circumstances, they uncover a shadowy tangle of ancient Cold War secrets that seem to lead back to a man named Alexander Popov, who is either a Soviet bogeyman or the most dangerous man in the world. How many more people will have to die to keep those secrets buried?
©2013 Mick Herron (P)2013 AudioGO
"The narrative picks up real steam and becomes genuinely thrilling. The novel is equally noteworthy for its often lyrical prose." (Publisher's Weekly)
A mystery in a day in the life of Slough House.
MI5 has a cast-off department where screw-ups and castaways go to pasture. Whether it is because of gambling addictions, or leaving a file on a subway car, everyone at Slough House is a "slow horse" or, as they are sometimes referred, "Special Needs".
The character development is filled out enough that you have a feeling of who the main players really are, and you know what makes them tick. They are the underdogs, and deep down want to prove themselves.
When they catch wind of a sleeper cell from Cold War times being awakened, they might have a chance to redeem themselves.
Slow Horses is the prequal to Dead Lions.
But the narrator is really really really bad. It is like he is reading aloud to children. And his interpretation of the book really is off. This audio book is also narrated by Sean Barrett and he is fantastic, but try as I might I was not able to get a copy and was stuck with this copy which I chose to pay for instead of using a credit because it was so cheap. I really liked the first book...Slow Horses...and am muddling my way through this version...I don't know what they were thinking using Mr. Barrett for the first book and then going with Mr. Healy for Dead Lions...but they must have had second thoughts to then have Mr. Barrett do Dead Lions as well. It is available in that version in the UK and Australia, etc...ugh.
Unfortunately I have to agree with a couple of the other comments on this book regarding the narration. The narrator does not seem at all interested in the words he is reading and is continually placing the incorrect emphasis on words in sentence after sentence. He also mispronounced a number of words throughout the book. For example, the word seconded when used to describe an agent being seconded to another branch of the secret service is pronounced differently to if it was used to describe a motion in the Houses of Parliament being seconded by a member. The narrator was also very poor at adopting different voices and accents to represent different characters in the book, making it difficult to follow who was saying what at times. I would recommend the publishers listen to Alex Wyndham narrating The Strangler Vine for an example of a flawless narration. The storyline and characters in the book are both great so i did listen to it until the end, Looking forward to the next book in the series.
If you are an American narratating a book set in England, you might perhaps check that you've got the pronunciation of place names correct. After that, you might check the pronunciation of words that you've obviously not heard aloud before -- "plastique" or "secondment", for instance. It saves time and money just to have a bash at them but it doesn't half spoil it for the reader who does know how they're pronounced. If this seems unreasonable, Mr Healy, perhaps you could imagine me reading an American book to you and pronouncing, say, "Berkley" and "clerk" the English way because, screw it, who cares, hey? That's right: you and we don't say "tomato" the same way, it's not just a song.
The chap who narrated "Slow Horses" was a big reason I bought the second book. Bring him back, please. I'm sure Mr Healy is a fine narrator when he's familiar with the words. It's just a shame his comfort zone extends farther than it should.
I really enjoyed the first book - Slow Horses, one of my favorites. But this was just the same characters kind of re-hashed. Maybe it's just not a concept that fits well for a series, but didn't work for me. too bad.
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