Real Tigers

Soho Crime. Jan. 2016. 336p. ISBN 9781616956127. $26.95; ebk. ISBN 9781616956134. F
As fans will know, Slough House is the back-of-beyond home of British spies who are drunks, addicts, failures, and misfits. This series recounts the tales of their redemption. Perhaps unusual among crime writers (though Donald Westlake comes to mind), Herron couches his intensely complicated plot in pillows of humor that hit the full range from bodily functions to double entendres. At heart, there is solid seriousness here as the new Home Secretary unleashes a tiger team (in which your own side tests you to the limit) to expose the weaknesses of British intelligence. The team kidnaps one of the Slough deadbeats and the others are tricked into a rescue operation.
VERDICT Readers love this series for its breezy treatment of espionage in which you get to cheer for the underdogs while also showing respect for their opponents. Characters are drawn with the sharpest possible pen and, like them or not, they are compelling whether alone or in groups. Herron already earned a 2013 CWA Gold Dagger Award for the previous title Dead Lions and was short listed for the 2015 Ian Fleming Steel Dagger Award for Nobody Walks.
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