Slough House is where British intelligence agents go when they’ve screwed up a case. It’s a dumping ground, a place filled with the unwanted, for agents who misplace classified materials or who botch training exercises. These agents are known as “slow horses”. River Cartwright is resentful about the events that led to him being a member of Slough House and knows he was set up. When a young man is kidnapped and his attackers threaten to stream his beheading live on the internet, River believes this is his chance to redeem himself.
The beginning of this book was really slow for me. There are plenty of characters and it was difficult to keep remembering who was who and what their backstory was. Additionally, I was pretty sure River Cartwright was the main focus in this book, but I couldn’t really tell since there were so many scenes about other characters.
But about a third of the way through the book, the action really picked up. I started to distinguish the different characters and the storyline started forming. Different parts of the plot caught my attention, the various pieces fell together, and I started enjoying the book.
I loved the descriptions of London and the idiosyncrasies of the characters. The humor is understated and the story is filled with plenty of twists and turns as the Slow Horses do all they can to find the young man before he is killed.
All the characters are complex and have intricate backstories. While this book is about River Cartwright, his fellow outcasts all get time too. There’s currently 3½ books in this series and this first book sets a good groundwork for future stories. If you like spy novels, I would recommend this book.