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Publisher's Summary

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

Critic Reviews

"The narrative picks up real steam and becomes genuinely thrilling. The novel is equally noteworthy for its often lyrical prose." (Publisher's Weekly)

What members say

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Top Ten

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.

11 of 11 people found this review helpful

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  • Faja4x
  • Central MA, United States
  • 02-09-16

Mick Herron is a good author...but...

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.

11 of 12 people found this review helpful

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  • connie
  • Sydney, Nova Scotia, Canada
  • 01-15-17

could be the best series you've never read

Clever, funny; well-plotted, peopled, and set; very nice prose; not too dark but not at all silly or predictable-- what more can a lover of Brit crime-espionage fiction ask? (besides more, please!) Herron doesn't make you work as hard as LeCarre or Greene, but that can be a good thing, if you're trying to relax. He is almost in their league as a novelist.

Narration on all three titles in the Slough Houses series is excellent, and even though the narrators vary, listening was almost seamless. Sean Barret deserves an award for Slow Horses (which I couldn't review since it seems no longer available in my region.)

I had a couple of this series from Audible sales unread for years. Once I finally hit the listen button, I went through the 3 available in days and eagerly await Spook Street's appearance, hopefully in audio next month.

13 of 15 people found this review helpful

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Spoiled by an arrogant narrator

Is there anything you would change about this book?

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.

Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Michael Healy?

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.

7 of 8 people found this review helpful

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I'd give this a 5+ in this genre.

I enjoyed this very much. There's much more "thriller" in this spy story than in book 1 of the series; but, I'm not sure if I'd enjoy this one as much w/o it as book 1 provided the psychological make-up of the characters. Not being much of a writer myself, I can't find a word or phrase to express how much I enjoyed the prose and tightness of the plot. But perhaps this quote will show you. Describing an annoying bureaucrat, the narrator explains: The man was so thoroughly a suit that if you cut him open he would bleed in pinstripe. I fiund the narrator charming.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Great Story, Not Great Narration

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.

8 of 10 people found this review helpful

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Even better than the first

This is an excellent follow up to Slow Horses. The same cast of characters is back and they are better developed (and funnier) than I expected. I thoroughly enjoyed Slow Horses, but I think Dead Lions is even better.
There is something so unique and charming about these books. It's a typical spy thriller (fast-paced, lots of action), but in addition the writing is sharp and it's incredibly funny. In fact, this is some of the best writing I have heard recently. If you enjoy the intrigue of spy novels, but are bored of the same ol' same ol', you might enjoy these novels.
However (and this is a BIG However), the narration is not good. To be fair, it's not the worst narration I've ever heard, but it's close. It's unfortunate, because this is a great book. I was able to get past it and enjoy the book, but for the first half hour I was really annoyed. Perhaps listen to the sample before buying to make sure you can cope with it and stil enjoy the book.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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Narrator gets bad rap

Any additional comments?

I almost didn't buy this book because initially Healy had been so criticized, and I also am a fan of Gerard Doyle...in fact searching for him is how I originally found this series. However, I listened to books from other genres in between, then came back to this one, and was pleasantly surprised. Healy is a marvelous, gifted reader...able to inject droll irony into passages accentuating the humor. His narration was smart, clever and sprightly....I've added him to my list of favorites.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Weak narration

Story is not up the level of the first in the series, Slow Horses, but what I found most disappointing was the narration - not enough distinction made between the different voices for the characters, and a rather flat delivery overall.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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I can't get past the first chapter!

What disappointed you about Dead Lions?

The narrator, Michael Healy is terrible.Disappointing, as the previous volume's narrator was great, G Doyle.I will order the kindle version of this instead.Love the writer Mick Herron and all the characters.

What could Mick Herron have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

Screen the narrator, go back to Gerard Doyle perhaps.

How did the narrator detract from the book?

Made it impossible to listen any further.

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

ugh.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful