London Rules: Book summary and reviews of London Rules by Mick Herron

London Rules

A Slough House Novel

by Mick Herron

London Rules by Mick Herron X
London Rules by Mick Herron
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  • Published in USA  Jun 2018
    336 pages
    Genre: Thrillers

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Book Summary

The brilliant plotting of Herron's twice CWA Dagger Award-winning Slough House series of spy novels is matched only by his storytelling gift and an ear for viciously funny political satire.

At MI5 headquarters Regent's Park, First Desk Claude Whelan is learning this the hard way. Tasked with protecting a beleaguered prime minister, he's facing attack from all directions: from the showboating MP who orchestrated the Brexit vote, and now has his sights set on Number Ten; from the showboat's wife, a tabloid columnist, who's crucifying Whelan in print; from the PM's favorite Muslim, who's about to be elected mayor of the West Midlands, despite the dark secret he's hiding; and especially from his own deputy, Lady Di Taverner, who's alert for Claude's every stumble. Meanwhile, the country's being rocked by an apparently random string of terror attacks.

Over at Slough House, the MI5 satellite office for outcast and demoted spies, the agents are struggling with personal problems: repressed grief, various addictions, retail paralysis, and the nagging suspicion that their newest colleague is a psychopath. Plus someone is trying to kill Roddy Ho. But collectively, they're about to rediscover their greatest strength - that of making a bad situation much, much worse.

It's a good thing Jackson Lamb knows the rules. Because those things aren't going to break themselves.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. Herron combines a strong plot with a fine, often comic style as he celebrates the power of community in response to terrorism." - Publishers Weekly

"Starred Review. Herron's sharp wit makes the Slough House novels something special, his team of maverick spies bringing a delightful, freewheeling edge to the genre. This is prime spy fiction with more than a touch of wry." - Booklist

"Starred Review. [Fans] will dive into the scrum of Herron's fifth outing (after Spook House) and thus deeply enjoy the mordant humor woven into the insanely complicated plot." - Library Journal

"Herron shows once again that the United Kingdom's intelligence community is every bit as dysfunctional and alarmingly funny as Bill James' cops and robbers." - Kirkus

"The new spy master ... The coruscating cynicism and cartoon comedy do not detract from the seriousness of the message: 'Hate crime pollutes the soul, but only the souls of those who commit it.' " - Evening Standard (UK)

"The new king of the spy thriller." - Mail on Sunday (UK)

"The best modern British spy series." - Daily Express (UK)

"Herron's comic brilliance should not overshadow the fact that his books are frequently thrilling, often thought-provoking, and sometimes moving and even inspiring. Reading one of Herron's worst books would be the highlight of my month and London Rules is one of his best." - Sunday Express (UK)

"His character [Jackson Lamb] is a modern Falstaff ... He's [Herron] been called the heir to Len Deighton - and Mick Herron's latest mordantly funny espionage novel only backs that up." -Sunday Times (UK)

"London Rules confirms Mick Herron as the greatest comic writer of spy fiction in the English language, and possibly all crime fiction." - The Times (UK)

"Le Carré looks sugar-coated next to the acid Slough House novels ... As a master of wit, satire, insight and that very English trick of disguising heartfelt writing as detached irony before launching a surprise assault on the reader's emotions, Herron is difficult to overpraise." - Daily Telegraph (UK)

"Stylistically, Herron's narrative voice swoops from the high to the low but it's the dialogue that zings: the screenwriters of the inevitable TV version won't have to change much ... Herron is a very funny writer, but also a serious plotter." - The Guardian (UK)

"Mick Herron is the John le Carré of our generation." - Val McDermid

"London Rules may be the best Jackson Lamb thriller yet, and that's saying something, considering how brilliant the previous ones are." - Mark Billingham, author of the internationally bestselling Tom Thorne novels

"London Rules takes the Jackson Lamb series to new levels of nerve-shredding tension, leavened as always with moments of eye-watering hilarity - often on the same page." - Christopher Brookmyre, author of the Jack Parlabane thrillers

This information about London Rules shown above was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. In most cases, the reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author and feel that the reviews shown do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, please send us a message with the mainstream media reviews that you would like to see added.

Any "Author Information" displayed below reflects the author's biography at the time this particular book was published.

Reader Reviews

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Cloggie Downunder

Another excellent dose of British spy fiction
London Rules is the fifth book in the Slough House series by prize-winning British author, Mick Herron. During a sweltering summer in Slough House, the slow horses perform, with a minimum of enthusiasm, the tasks their boss, Jackson Lamb has dreamed up: Louisa Guy scans library records for borrowers of possible terrorist texts; River Cartwright pretends to compare rate payments with the electoral roll to reveal possible terrorist safe houses, while he worries about his demented grandfather; and J.K. Coe composes fake emails for agents who need to disappear after interacting too closely with the general public.

Still on the wagon, Catherine Standish mops up after Lamb while also monitoring the psychological temperature of their reduced number, in particular: grief over those recently lost, the effect of (now-drug-free for 62 days!) Shirley Dander’s anger management course, the stability of the ever-silent, traumatised Coe, River’s concerns for the O.B., and Roddy Ho’s continuing over-inflated belief in his own popularity.

Meanwhile, in the real world, a terrorist attack on a Derbyshire village leaves twelve dead, a pipe bomb at a zoo has a similar death toll, and the discovery of a bomb on a train averts another potential disaster. As Regent’s Park searches for terrorists, First Desk Claude Whelan also has to cope with the PM’s demands for certain background checks, an MP with PM ambitions, the MP’s tabloid journalist wife and of course, his Second Desk, Lady Di Taverner, who has designs on his job.

When there’s an attempt on Roddy Ho’s life, the slow horses are at first incredulous, then puzzled. Coe seldom contributes, but when he does open his mouth, it’s worth listening, even if Lamb’s sharp mind is already a long way towards figuring it out. And once again, the slow horses are out on an op. Apart from a generous helping of snappy dialogue, fists, knees, elbows, a wrench, a knife, a coat-hanger, guns, a bottle of bleach, and a tin of paint come into play.

As always, Jackson Lamb is rude, inappropriate, sharp and sly. He has a lot of fun with addressing the unfortunately-named Devon Welles. This instalment sees the first of the London Rules, “cover your arse” adhered to by many players, and ultimately, Ho maintains his oblivion regards the general opinion of his appeal. The idea that “…Lamb will go to any lengths to protect a joe, but would watch in mild amusement if the rest of the world hanged itself” is soundly reinforced.

Herron’s plot is imaginative but easily believable, with the odd twist to keep it interesting; there’s plenty of humour, much of it black, that will have readers snickering, giggling and laughing out loud. This fifth instalment of the series, while it contains some spoilers for earlier books, can easily be read as a stand-alone, but with a series as entertaining as this one, why would you? Another excellent dose of British spy fiction.

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Author Information

Mick Herron Author Biography

Mick Herron is a British novelist and short-story writer who was born in Newcastle and studied English at Oxford. He is the author of six books in the Slough House series (Slow Horses, Dead Lions, Real Tigers, Spook Street, London Rules, and the novella The List) and four Oxford mysteries (Down Cemetery Road, The Last Voice You Hear, Why We Die, and Smoke and Whispers), as well as the standalone novels Reconstruction, Nobody Walks, and This Is What Happened. His work has won the CWA Gold Dagger for Best Crime Novel, the Steel Dagger for Best Thriller, and the Ellery Queen Readers Award, and been nominated for the Macavity, Barry, Shamus, and Theakstons Novel of the Year Awards. He currently lives in Oxford and writes full-time.

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Mick Herron: http://www.mickherron.com/

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