18 Aug 2017

(SLOUGH HOUSE/JACKSON LAMB THRILLER #1): SLOW HORSES.

SLOW HORSES by MICK HERRON.

BACK COVER BLURB: Slough House is a dumping ground for members of the intelligence service who've screwed up: left a service file on a train, say, blown a surveillance, or become drunkenly unreliable. They're the service's poor relations - the slow horses - and most bitter among them is River Cartwright, whose days are spent transcribing mobile phone conversations.

 But when a young man is abducted, and his kidnappers threaten to behead him live on the internet, River sees an opportunity to redeem himself. But is the victim who 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 involved has their own agenda ...

FIRST SENTENCE {1}: This is how River Cartwright slipped off the track and joined the slow horses.

MEMORABLE MOMENT {PAGE 138}: The kitchen wasn't anywhere you'd want to cook a meal. On the other hand, it wasn't anywhere a meal had been cooked; its surfaces piled with takeaway containers and plastic cutlery, with greasy brown paper bags and pizza boxes, with empty soft drink bottles and discarded cigarette packets.  Ashtrays had been made out of anything that didn't move.

SOURCE: A book club read.

READ FOR: Not applicable.

MY THOUGHTS: Hmm! Where to begin? The size of print seems as good a place as any.

I can't speak for every format/edition but this, a 2016 John Murray paperback copy, had incredibly small print. Not something that in years gone by would have put me off a book much less led me to comment on it but, my eye sight not being what it once was, despite glasses, I struggled.

Anyway ... to the book.

An OK read. I'm not sure how much of the satire (to say nothing of the metaphors and hypothethicals of which the book is full of) went over my head but then this tends to be the case with humour, you either get it ... or you don't. 

Full of various 'slow horses' (spies who have basically screwed up in one way or another). Despite my best intentions I'm afraid at times I simply couldn't help but think of a spectrum comprising Mr Bean from his least gawky to his, well, not quite (but almost) most gawky. No bad thing given that it is these characters, this motley crew of the overweight, the ill-mannered, the down-right incompetent, rather than the plot, that made the book for me.


13 comments:

Kelly said...

I like the premise... a place for "slow horses", as such, but I guess it's one I'd have to read for myself. As you said, humor is something you either get or don't.

I'm with you on the tiny print. And what's worse is if it's a book that's been on my shelf for years and the pages have begun to yellow. Makes it even more difficult for me.

Literary Feline said...

Like Kelly, I like the sound of the premise for this one. I think I might like to give this one a try, even with your reservations. I can't read small print like I used to be able to. I probably should think about investing in reading glasses, but I'm not ready to admit I might need them.

Brian Joseph said...

This sounds like such a promising concept. Too bad that you found it to be somewhat mediocre. I agree, when it comes to humor, it tends to work very well or not at all.


As I get older, I am also finding that I dislike small print.

Suko said...

Thanks for your honest review, Tracy! Bigger is better, when it comes to print. (I'm finding the small print on many packages a bit too tiny these days to read without glasses.) Anyway, I enjoyed your succinct review. Have a great weekend! I will be taking a short blogging break next week.

Melliane said...

well it could have been more

Anonymous said...

Tracy,
Although the concept is interesting,
I am uncertain about this book. But
perhaps I would borrow it from the
library.
I definitely appreciated your critical
note about the small print.
Raven

Barbara Fisher said...

Hi Tracy, tiny print is no good at all for me, but that’s OK in this instance because I really don’t like the sound of this one.

Melissa (Books and Things) said...

You are right about the humor, and I'd be curious to see if I get it. However, I don't think this one is for me, but brilly review!

Tammy said...

The premise of the book sounds like it could have been so good. I still might give these on a shot if I saw a copy in the library. Thanks for the review. New follower-nice to meet you!

Sherry Ellis said...

Certainly an interesting kitchen description! Sounds like a decent cast of characters, too.

Stephanie@Fairday's Blog said...

Sounds interesting.

I recently read a book that I had given to my mom to read first. She gave it back and said the font size and style bothered here in parts (there were letters occasionally- about one a chapter). When I read the book I found it nearly impossible to read the letters. I had to take out a flashlight at one point to make it easier- so I can relate to the font size being a problem. :)

Natasha said...

I do like the premise of this and like you it sounds like a very character driven book and one that would be more about those characters than the plot. Will have to keep an eye out for this one! Great review as always Tracy! - Tasha

Tracy Terry said...

Many thanks for all your comments and a big welcome to Tammy. I'm glad to read that I'm not the only one to have problems with small print.