2 thoughts on “Reading 2024

  1. Slow Horses by Mick Herron

    Slow horses refers to British intelligence officers sent to Slough House, the department where MI5 sends its screw ups. They’re lead by slovenly-dressed, overweight Jackson Lamb, who’s exterior belies how formidable he is, reminiscent of Columbo. In this book, the first in a series, Slough House gets involved with trying to foil a kidnapping. I found the story and resolution satisfying, but Lamb is the main reason I enjoyed the book, and will continue the series. What makes him entertaining is his insults to his own crew, having no qualms with expressing his low opinion of them. However, while this jibes are amusing, they may not represent his true feelings for them. There’s some evidence he may have more faith in their abilities than these insults suggest. On the other hand, it’s possible he believes they’re incompetent, but in spite of that, he does care about them, making him into one of these appealing anti-heroes.

    There are a few things I didn’t care for:

    • MI5’s scheme seems implausible and foolish; it’s hard to believe they would do something so foolish. This broke my suspension of disbelief, but I pressed on.
    • Because of the first point, this weakend Diana Taverner in my eyes, making her far less formidable to be an effective antagonist to Lamb’s protagonist. Seems unworthy of someone like Kristin Scott-Thomas; that is, KST seems far smarter and tougher.

    On a side note, I’m looking forward to watching Gary Oldham and KST in the TV series.

  2. Dead Lions by Mick Herron

    Book 2 of the Slough House series was entertaining, for the most part, but these first two books, structurally feel like a typical cop movie where the solution and resolution of the story is compressed in a relatively short period of time–something I really didn’t like in TV shows like this. I hope this doesn’t continue in the subsequent books.

    There continues to be some unbelievable moments that diminish the Taverner character and threaten to break my suspension of disbelief. (Spoilers) For example, James “Spider” Webb secretly setting up a meeting with a Russian oligarch and then Taverner allowing it to continue. I just find it hard to believe anything like this would happen or be allowed.

    Having said that, Jackson Lamb continues to be appeal to me (in spite of some clumsy character traits by Herron), and the stories are mostly entertaining. So it’s on to book three.

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