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London Rules

(Slough House #5)

4.29  ·  Rating details ·  2,152 ratings  ·  286 reviews

London Rules might not be written down, but everyone knows rule one.

Cover your arse.

Regent's Park's First Desk, Claude Whelan, is learning this the hard way. Tasked with protecting a beleaguered prime minister, he's facing attack from all directions himself: from the showboating MP who orchestrated the Brexit vote, and now has his sights set on Number Ten; from the showboa

Kindle Edition, 352 pages
Published February 13th 2018 by John Murray
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4.29  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,152 ratings  ·  286 reviews

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Just superb and sublime! So good that I wished I had more stars to give this ever improving series featuring the Slough House failures from the intelligence services, presided over by the grotesque, corpulent, repulsive and flatulent Jackson Lamb, a man who refers to himself as a pagan deity. This is outstanding espionage fiction, that sharply satirises the car crash that is contemporary British politics with Brexit, and the security services. The unwritten London rules are followed religiously ...more
“Eight months of anger f**king management sessions, and this evening she’d officially be declared anger free. It had been hinted she might even get a badge. That could be a problem – if anyone stuck a badge on her, they’d be carrying their teeth home in a hankie. . .”

More of Herron’s trademark humour, off-beat characters, and action in and around London. Plus his wonderful mood setting where the weather and the time of day become their own characters. I love this part of his style.

This fifth b
Apr 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Brilliant. Just brilliant. I sincerely hope that Mick Herron is going to continue with this series because it gets better with each book. He kills his characters off and then replaces them with better ones! Who does that in a series?

Mind you he keeps his best characters going, River, Lamb, Catherine, Louisa are in every book. And they are so entertaining. The dialogue is witty and full of black humour. When political correctness was handed out Lamb was obviously behind a door somewhere and misse
Jul 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Another brilliant addition to Mick Herron's brilliant espionage series based on a group of misfit spies (the 'Slow Horses') exiled to Slough House, where the dregs of the British secret service are sent to serve out their days with mind-numbingly dull tasks. Ruling over them all is Jackson Lamb, an odious man who drinks and smokes too much and whose sense of personal hygiene and lack of sensitive dialog makes him reviled by all. But he is not incompetent at his craft and is wily enough to know w ...more
In the murky world of the British secret service, there’s a tacit understanding that everyone plays by London Rules. These aren’t the ones neatly compiled in official binders. No, these are the unwritten rules, the real ones. #1: Cover your arse.

And when it comes to MI5, it doesn’t matter whether you work at Regent’s Park or Slough House. The former is where all the cool kids get to be spies. The latter is home to agents who’ve screwed up royally but can’t legally (or at least, quietly) be kille
Jan 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Without doubt, Mick Herron has created the best, modern spy series, in his Slough House books and this, latest instalment, is a wonderful addition. It begins with what seems to be a terrorist outrage, with us readers falling into line and imagining we know who is behind it. However, this is Mick Herron, these are the Slow Horses, and plotx do not go in straight lines here – they meander, double back, peer around corners and call your bluff.

So, things are not what they seem and our current batch
Jun 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love this series! Mick Herron has created these unique characters that feel like old friends now. If you decide to try this series, do yourself a favor and start with the first book, Slow Horses.

The book starts out with a terrorist act, claimed by ISIS, but it’s not in some small village in the Middle East. There are two more events, one involving penguins and the other a train. There is an attempt on Roddy Ho's life, and Shirley regretfully saves him. It happens a second time, again unsuccess
Feb 02, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the 5th book in the 'Slough House' series by author Mick Herron. Slough House is a dumping ground for British intelligence agents who have messed up a case. The "slow horses," are given menial tasks rather than be trusted on bigger cases.
I found the 1st book I read in this series OK but although loving the idea of Slough House and the relegated spies was not fully committed to reading further books. In spite of my doubts I decided to carry on regardless and I am so pleased I did. For me
Apr 17, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A very good spy story, after a bit of a slow, wordy start. When Herron is on top of his game, the book is exciting and gripping, unputdownable. However, in several cases, Herron allows the dialogue to become repetitive and quite dull. I found myself skimming in several places. I think some of this is on-purpose to build tension, but that doesn’t really work.

One thing I’ve noted is the humour and general pacing improve substantially around the half-way mark. The plot is a bit outrageous and unlik
4.5 stars

I think Mick Herron’s Slough House series just keeps improving! Herron brings his characteristic humour to the creation of the failed spies of Slough House, with characters who all exhibit personal problems that interfere daily with their ability to function.

Eight months of anger fucking management sessions, and this evening she'd officially be declared anger free. It had been hinted she might even get a badge. That could be a problem--if anyone stuck a badge on her, they'd be carrying
Alex Cantone
London Rules is the fifth in the series featuring Slough House - the offshoot of MI5’s Regent Park, where disgraced spooks while away their days in administrative obscurity, headed by former cold war joe, Jackson Lamb - and the best yet. The team are in lock-down, following seemingly random terrorist attacks on British soil, and two foiled attempts to kill Roderick Ho, Slough House’s cyber-idiot in residence. J K Coe establishes a link, which suggests the acts follow a blueprint for destabilisin ...more
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 ...more
Feb 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
These days, one of the highlights of my life is getting to read the latest in Mick Herron's "Slow Horses" series. This is Number 5 and it's the best yet. At times, Herron's writing is almost poetic and then he fires in a smart-ass one liner that just nails it. He can veer from a beautiful description of dawn breaking over London to incisive analysis of Britain's current political woes and the evils of terrorism.

I lost count of the laugh-out-loud moments in "London Rules" and there's a line about
Jan 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wonderful. The Slough House series of novels just gets better and better. London Rules is the fifth in the series.

When a friend suggested that Mick Herron was up there with John Le Carré, I was dubious. John Le Carré is an all time great, a titan, however she is quite correct. Not only does Mick Herron achieve similar levels of literary greatness, he has also managed to update Le Carré’s Cold War settings into a recognisable and contemporary 21st century. It’s an extraordinary achievement. Herr
Sid Nuncius
Jan 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is another absolutely brilliant book from Mick Herron. It is rare for me to rave so unreservedly about a book, never mind a series, but Herron's Slough House series has been outstanding. London Rules is the fifth; its predecessor, Spook Street, was perhaps not quite as good as the others (which still meant it was at least as good as anything else I read last year), but this is possibly the best so far. It can be read as a stand alone book, but for maximum enjoyment I would recommend reading ...more
Maine Colonial
Feb 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
There are so many excellent reviews already posted that I’m not going to go into a lot of detail here. What I do want to say is that this is my favorite of the Slough House series since the first book—and none of them is a dud.

Where le Carré was the master of the Cold War espionage story and nailed that sense of betrayal lurking around every corner, Mick Herron writes for our era, when there is no defined enemy state, but there are mindless agents of all kinds of screwed-up organizations who cou
Roman Clodia
Jan 05, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
'We're talking about a bunch of mindless bottom-feeders whose general ignorance of our way of life is tempered only by their indifference to human suffering, we're all agreed on that?'
'Is this the politicians or the killers?'
'Good point, but I meant the killers.'

Opening with a terrorist atrocity claimed by ISIS, we think we're on what has become increasingly familiar fictional territory - but, ah, this is Mick Herron, so nothing is ever what it seems...

This whole series is fabulous but I think
Apr 01, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a really odd book. I can't decide whether it is utterly brilliant, or complete farce. Or chillingly realistic. I think I'm siding towards a preference and I'm intrigued enough by the totally unique writing style to want to read another book. Like nothing I've ever read before.
Feb 26, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction, thriller
Another entry in the Slough House series. On the blurb at the back somebody confidently avers that Mick Herron is the John Le Carre of our time. A claim that does both authors a disservice. I mean John Le Carre is clearly the John Le Carreof our time, but that aside, Mick Herron is very fond and getting fonder by the day of sketching dysfunctional work environments and revelling in his main character Jackson Lamb. I dont think he has the time or inclination to throw a mirror on moral ambiguity w ...more
Loved this. Witty, clever and sharp. Fantastic writing. I was a little muddled early on as I hadn't read any of the earlier books but I'm determined to put that right for the future - I've just bought the backlist. I have no idea why I've missed this series. I really regret it now.
Rowena Hoseason
Feb 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018
Mick Herron launches London Rules with a simply gob-smacking opening chapter. You think you understand exactly what’s happening – just another terrorist atrocity among the daily diet of disaster – and then he pulls the rug right out from under with a single didn’t-see-that-coming sentence. It’s absurdly accomplished, and sets the tone for the fifth of these contemporary political commentaries.

If you haven’t met the Slow Horses before then London Rules will make little or no sense at all. Best to
Mal Warwick
Jul 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Ever since World War II, espionage has been a favorite topic of thriller writers. Authors such as Eric Ambler and Graham Greene set the tone, and some of their novels are regarded as classics of the genre to this day. In the years since their heyday (the 1930s and 40s), the genre has veered off in two directions. John le Carré took the more serious approach with the psychological depth and moral qualms of The Spy Who Came in from the Cold (1963). By contrast, Ian Fleming's Casino Royale (1952), ...more
Daniel Sevitt
Dec 18, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: part-of-a-series
Herron has already shown that he's willing to kill off any of his main characters at any time which adds a sense of jeopardy to these books that you don't often get with an ongoing series. This time around, though, he's having more fun with the team. Roderick Ho is gloriously unaware of his position in the service even while he is being aggressively interrogated as a potential mole. Jackson Lamb continues to be a flatulent, omniscient and oafish spook savant. I particularly enjoyed his latest ni ...more
Lady Fancifull
Jan 30, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Official (Mick Herron Avoider of Spoilers) Secrets Act Signed!

Mick Herron’s marvellously funny, horribly plausible, politically too close for comfort, twisty, turny sequence of spooks-on-the-prowl novels continues, all guns effortlessly blazing for another 5 star review with this one.

For those new to Herron’s ‘Slough House, Jackson Lamb’ series, good though Book 5 (this one) is, and despite the fact that yes, each book can be read as a stand-alone, I would strongly, strongly suggest you race awa
Jul 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Brilliant, witty, world-wise, hilarious plot involving North Korean wannabe terrorists with Slough House at the ready to disrupt/defend and sometimes accidentally assist.
This book is so enjoyable a read it is something like a roller coaster ride one wishes to run back quickly to get in line for to ride all over again.
Herron's humour is very appealing to me, and I can count on laughing out loud frequently reading his books. I do hope this series will be produced, but then the language? Hmmm, mayb
Rebecca Bradley
Feb 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is the fifth novel in the Slough House series and it is only getting better with time. I closed the book desperately wanting to read the next in the series. But, unfortunately, I probably have about a year to wait!

I just love the characters in these books, Herron does an amazing job of making them come alive on the page. Particularly Jackson Lamb who farts and scratches his way through the story unashamedly. I love him! I also have a soft spot for River as he was the character who set the s
Elaine Tomasso
Jan 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I would like to thank Netgalley and John Murray Press for an advance copy of London Rules, the fifth novel to feature Jackson Lamb and his team of MI5 misfits, the Slow Horses.

It's all go at Slough House or maybe not as the team get on with their busy work which probably won't help the Service save the nation but even they are puzzled as to why anyone except them would want to kill the obnoxious Roddy Ho, not once but twice. Still it takes their minds off not being involved in the hunt for the t
Mar 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Love this series. Ostensibly a spy/thriller story about the secret service, but I think it is really about dysfunctional workplaces and management BS everywhere, so its transplantation to the world of national security is just that bit more worrying than what we are probably all familiar with in our own daily lives. This one contains quite a bit of post-Brexit satire, although to be honest it is hard to satirise what is going on in Britain at the moment. The PM is a vaguely Cameron-like figure, ...more
Manda Scott
May 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Fantastic, fluid, brilliant inspiring writing

I was an early adopter of the Slow Horses, and have each one on pre-order, delivered to the Kindle. This time, I made myself wait before devouring it, partly because I wanted to know it was still there, partly because I knew once I’d started it, I wouldn’t stop and there aren’t that many evenings when I can realistically stay up until 2am without repercussions the next day. Last night was one of those when it was OK - and yes, it was 2am before I fini
Jan 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing

#5 in the Slow Horses series gets off to a gallop with a blinding opening (which I shall not spoil by describing). Mick Herron is a spy thriller writer at the top of his game and his mastery of the material positively thrums with confidence, originality and hilarity.

Right on the zeitgeist – if not ahead of it – Herron has fun with his conflation of real-life politicos and jumped-up tabloid journos in a complex terrorist plot that this time sees Slough House’s annoying techie Roddy
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Mick Herron was born in Newcastle and has a degree in English from Balliol College, Oxford. He is the author of six books in the Slough House series as well as a mystery series set in Oxford featuring Sarah Tucker and/or P.I. Zoë Boehm. He now lives in Oxford and works in London.

Other books in the series

Slough House (6 books)
  • Slow Horses (Slough House, #1)
  • Dead Lions (Slough House, #2)
  • Real Tigers (Slough House, #3)
  • Spook Street (Slough House, #4)
  • Joe Country (Slough House #6)
“Having clean hands was an unusual criterion for the role, but his predecessor’s shenanigans had ensured that, on this occasion at least, it was politic.” 0 likes
“Circles were traditionally vicious. Catherine suspected other shapes had teeth too, but better PR.” 0 likes
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