Book Review: Real Tigers by Mick Herron

About the Book

London’s Slough House is where disgraced MI5 operatives are reassigned to spend the rest of their spy careers pushing paper. 

But when one of these “slow horses” is kidnapped by a former soldier bent on revenge, the agents must breach the defenses of Regent’s Park to steal valuable intel in exchange for their comrade’s safety. The kidnapping is only the tip of the iceberg, however, as the agents uncover a larger web of intrigue that involves not only a group of private mercenaries but also the highest authorities in the Security Service. 

After years spent as the lowest on the totem pole, the slow horses suddenly find themselves caught in the midst of a conspiracy that threatens not only the future of Slough House, but of MI5 itself.

My Thoughts

REAL TIGERS is another thrilling instalment in Mick Herron’s Slough House series. 

Slough House has new recruits, and they are as dysfunctional and dangerous – in their own ways - as the rest of the inhabitants. Yet in true Slough House style, their introduction initially has little impact; most of the inhabitants are in a world of their own and living with the untold tedium of doing the work of people seen as lower than even the bottom rung of the secret service ladder.

Machinations at both the Park (secret service head office) and within the government sees those aspiring to the top jobs plotting to overthrow incumbents and take those roles themselves. The plotting wonderfully weaves a cohesive narrative involving the Park, politicians and the Slough House team as they all fight for survival.

There’s a great cast of self-interested characters that I have no problems in believing exist in real life. And along with the ever-acerbic Jackson Lamb, and his hapless crew, I was treated to a marvellous thriller that had me engaged from the first page until the very end. 

Each book gets better and better in this series and I cannot wait to read the next one.

About the Author

Mick Herron is a novelist and short story writer whose books include the Sarah Tucker/Zoë Boehm series and the standalone novel Reconstruction.  His work has been shortlisted for the Macavity, Barry and Shamus awards, and his novella DOLPHIN JUNCTION was joint winner of the 2009 Ellery Queen Readers Award. His second standalone, Nobody Walks, was shortlisted for the Ian Fleming Steel Dagger in 2015, and was one of Booklist Magazine’s Best 101 Crime Novels of the Decade.

He is the author of the acclaimed Jackson Lamb series, the first of which, the Steel Dagger-nominated Slow Horses was hailed by the Daily Telegraph as one of the “the twenty greatest spy novels of all time”. The second in the series, Dead Lions, won the 2013 CWA Goldsboro Gold Dagger, and was picked by the Sunday Times as one of the best 25 crime novels of the past five years. The third, Real Tigers, was shortlisted for both the Gold and Steel Daggers, for the Theakstons Crime Novel of the Year, and for the 2017 Macavity Award. It won the Last Laugh Award at Crimefest 2017, for the best humorous crime novel of 2016.

Spook Street, the fourth Jackson Lamb novel – praised by Ian Rankin for its “sublime dialogue and frictionless plotting” – won the Ian Fleming Steel Dagger 2017.

The fifth Jackson Lamb novel, LONDON RULES, will appear in 2018.

Mick was born in Newcastle upon Tyne, and now lives in Oxford. He writes full time.