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Slow Horses

Slough House, Book 1
Written by: Mick Herron
Narrated by: Gerard Doyle
Length: 10 hrs and 46 mins
4 out of 5 stars (12 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Slough House is a dumping ground for British intelligence agents who've screwed up cases in any number of ways - by leaving a secret file on a train or blowing a surveillance. River Cartwright, one such "slow horse", is bitter about his failure and about his tedious assignment transcribing cell phone conversations.

When a young man is abducted and his kidnappers threaten to broadcast his beheading live on the Internet, River sees an opportunity to redeem himself.

Is the victim whom he first appears to be? And what's the kidnappers' connection with a disgraced journalist? As the clock ticks on the execution, River finds that everyone has his own agenda.

©2010 Mick Herron (P)2017 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

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Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Classic British Spy Story set in Modern Times

Mick Heron's novel is brilliant in setting a classic British spy story in modern London. There is lots of spy trade-craft plied by flawed heroes set in a London so realistically described by its contrast between the excitement of power and the frustration of drab, grey congestion. If you like the spy thriller genre, or if you have ever had the exhilarating vexation of working in London, you will love this book.

On the performance side, Gerard Doyle is a fantastic reader. However, Heron uses many rapid cuts between parallel scenes in his story. He also uses multiple narrated first-person perspectives. The reader looking at a page can see these cuts and changes by an extra line, or even a separating symbol inserted between the switches. The listener does not get this visual signal, so we need a at least a longer pause between the cuts. This is particularly true at the end of the story when Heron has us flashing between four locations in rapid succession. Without those breaks, I found myself constantly hitting rewind to pick up the lead-in to the switched scenes. Then again maybe I am a slow horse too.

Overall its a great start to a series for me and as I have several long drives coming up I am looking forward to the sequels.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Well-written spy story with excellent narration

I generally read in bed before going to sleep, and began by reading this book in electronic form, then downloaded the audio version to be able to keep listening when I wanted to shut my eyes. I didn’t want a little fatigue get in the way of finding out what happened next! It’s an excellent story and switching to the audible version didn’t diminish and may have even increased my enjoyment of it. The narrator is perfect for this book. I look forward to moving on to the next book in the series! I’m hooked!

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

A wonderful change from the usual

It finished far too soon. I could have enjoyed several more chapters of this intriguing story. we'll defined characters with just enough missing to make me want more. I'll definitely listen to the series.

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 2019-07-12

Couldn't get into it

Way too many characters and switching back and forth without notice. I just couldn't get into the story. I finished it out but didn't really enjoy it.

24 of 24 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • dustmouse5
  • 2017-07-07

Fun premise, Slow start, excellent entertaiinment.

Terrific narrator. Confusing in the beginning because of the many names and characters but everything eventually snaps into focus. At turns tense and frightening, funny and sharp and, for me, an American reader who knows nothing about British spyfare, interesting and new. An extremely satisfying ending. Highly recommend.

72 of 75 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Adam
  • 2017-06-04

A bit of a slow start but worth sticking with

A lot of exposition in the first half to establish cast of characters but the plot really kicks in the second half. Well written and witty and Gerard Doyle, who is perfectly paired with Adrian McKinty's Irish crime fiction, is excellent here as well.

45 of 47 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Josh Alford
  • 2017-07-05

fantastic

well written. suspenseful and humorous with an edge and a real dose of reality. the perfect kind of spy novel.

60 of 63 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • itinerant
  • 2017-05-30

those Brits

This is as convoluted as many MI5 narratives, where no one is to be trusted save the down-and-out, but no one will believe them until it is too late. The story hangs together and has some satisfying moments, but it's a bit exhausting to jump around from storyline to storyline among so many loathsome characters all of whom should know and be better. After a while I just don't care any more . . .

56 of 62 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • tek-nique
  • 2017-03-08

Great Alternative Spyware Story

Great British spy story - battle between bureaucratic office politics players and carreer screw ups lead by a seedy unattractive has been. No James Bond in sight but great characters. Then of course there is kidnapping, murder and the threat of a live streamed beheading to keep things moving.

26 of 29 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • another know it all
  • 2017-09-03

like the story but not the narrator

some of the dialogue suggests a lighter tone but narrator is dark and bleak. it took a while to get used to the narrator so I could follow the story. good basic spy novel.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
  • Temme Martin
  • 2017-07-19

Just an ok listen for me

I read the reviews; thought I might enjoy. It does get off to a slow start. Follow the characters; whose in and whose out. Not all that enjoyable for me. I am glad if others liked it.

11 of 12 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Dawn Tutecky-McDougall
  • 2017-03-24

Love Slow Horses

Best book I have read (listened to ) in a while. Great characters. Looking forward to book 2 of the series.

29 of 33 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Diana Hart 33
  • 2019-08-02

confusing

This story had me scratching my head a couple times. it flip flops around so much it lost me. I love Gerald Doyle's narration so I kept listening. I was hoping to start this series because I need a new series. but I don't think I'm gonna go to book 2 it pulls together a little bit towards the end, but then ends again with me scratching my head thinking " what"??

4 of 4 people found this review helpful