Dead Lions by Mick Herron

When MI5 agents disgrace themselves, or get in the way of someone more influential, they are exiled to Slough House. Here they become known as the ‘slow horses’. They are loaded up with endless tedious tasks in the hope that they will resign. Those that stay are hoping for redemption and a return to the main MI5 offices at Regents Park.

The ‘slow horses’ are headed by Jackson Lamb, an uncouth slob who was a master spy during the cold war. When one of Lamb’s old colleagues from Berlin – Dickie Bow (long since retired) is found dead on a bus, Lamb refuses to believe that he dies of a heart attack. He sets his motley and non-cohesive crew of misfits to investigate the death.

Meanwhile, two of the ‘slow horses’ have been temporarily reassigned to work as protection for a visiting Russian oil tycoon (who MI5 hope to recruit). They both dream that this is the start of their return to the MI5 mainstream.

The two cases merge together in a hilarious, but still serious story. There are cold-war sleeper spies, murder, theft, KGB Agents, Russian thugs, bombs, plots to blow things up, back-stabbing careerists, tech gurus, druggies, double crosses and triple crosses. Pretty much every cliché that you could associate with a spy story.

In the end, there are probably a few more candidates from MI5 to join the ‘slow horses’.


This was a fun and thrilling book to read. At the beginning, I was wondering what was going on, but once I got into the book, it was excellent. Slough House was first introduced by Mick Herron in his 2010 book – ‘Slow Horses’. It may have been better to have read ‘Slow Horses’ first, but now that I’ve read ‘Dead Lions’, I’m keen to catch up with the earlier novel. And, I hope there are more instalments in the future.


Book Published 2013


See a full list of books by Mick Herron

Leave a Comment

Filed under Book Reviews, Herron, Mick, Series Fiction, Spy, Thriller

Comments are closed.