Real Tigers by Mick Herron


She’d heard once of a long-distance hiker, way before the days of e-readers, who’d carried a novel over the Alps, tearing out and discarding each page as he read it, to lighten his load. There was a lot to be said for that. For a baggage-free existence, each moment of your story jettisoned as soon as done; your future pristine, undiluted by all that’s gone before. You’d always be on the first page. Never have to turn back, relive your mistakes.

Slough House on Aldersgate Street is where all the screw ups have gone. The “slow horses” who are alcoholic, or hooked on coke, or in some way have made a mess of a case and been relegated to this building of shame.

Except they’re so likeable it’s hard to be scornful of their situation. Rather, one feels a certain amount of empathy, and a hope that the tight-assed superiors of Regent’s Park, such as Dame Ingrid Tearney, will get theirs.

I love the sparkling wit, so often comprised of sarcasm, which Herron bestows on his characters. Just as I have enjoyed Robert B. Parker’s Spenser novels for the humor and beautifully developed characters, so I feel an affinity toward Mick Herron’s. What a pity it’s taken me his third book of the Slough House series, Real Tigers, to find them.

Thanks to SoHo Press for the introduction.