Bad Actors By Mick Herron

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Bad Actors (Slough House Book 8) By Mick Herron

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Book/Novel Author: Mick Herron

Book/Novel Title: Bad Actors

 

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Mick Herron, “the le Carré of the future” (BBC), expands his world of bad spies with an even shadier cast of characters: the politicians, lobbyists, and misinformation agents pulling the levers of government policy. “Confirms Mick Herron as the best spy novelist now working.”—NPR’s Fresh Air Now an Apple TV+ series starring Gary Oldman and Kristin Scott Thomas.In London’s MI5 headquarters a scandal is brewing that could disgrace the entire intelligence community. The Downing Street superforecaster—a specialist who advises the Prime Minister’s office on how policy is likely to be received by the electorate—has disappeared without a trace. Claude Whelan, who was once head of MI5, has been tasked with tracking her down.  But the trail leads him straight back to Regent’s Park itself, with First Desk Diana Taverner as chief suspect. Has Taverner overplayed her hand at last? Meanwhile, her Russian counterpart, Moscow intelligence’s First Desk, has cheekily showed up in London and shaken off his escort. Are the two unfortunate events connected?Over at Slough House, where Jackson Lamb presides over some of MI5’s most embittered demoted agents, the slow horses are doing what they do best, and adding a little bit of chaos to an already unstable situation . . . There are bad actors everywhere, and they usually get their comeuppance before the credits roll. But politics is a dirty business, and in a world where lying, cheating and backstabbing are the norm, sometimes the good guys can find themselves outgunned.
Mick Herron is a superb mystery/ spy/ writer. His novels take us to the secret alleys of MI-5.Slough House is a place for wayward MI-5 agents. Those who did somebody wrong, make a bad, bad mistake, had an affair that did not go down well, became an alcoholic, which was a fear they could let secrets out, because really many MI-5 agents drink and smoke a lot. That is a trade mark of sorts. The people sent to Slough House are intelligent and wise, they made a blunder, but not the kind that could get them fired. They were sent to Slough House to do repetitive work, in hopes they would become so bored, they would quit. Not the present group, they were all looking for the big case, and Jackson Lamb who is the leader of Slough House, is trying to keep the place going. Getting to know the people who populate the MI-5, is necessary to understand the workings of this agency. Like our CIA, politics runs the day, but if I had a choice, I would go for the MI-5. This novel like many in the Slough House series moves slowly at first, but it revs up considerably, so stay in there.’Bad Actors’ will come to have a meaning as you enter into the world of spies. The inner workings of the MI-5 are revealed in more depth. The trickery, deceit and brutality are pretty deep. It is thecharacters of Slough House, however, who generate the most activity and who give us the reality of life as a spy. Complications and several storylines at once, seem to be the word of the day, but eventually it all makes sense. It is here that we meet all the characters from Slough House, and the rest of MI-5.And, in Bad Actors, we meet new bad actors of sorts assigned to Slough House.The author, Mick Herron, either has a background as an agent or knows someone who is, because he is privy to the inner workings of a spy. His characters are wonderfully delicious, all of them with particular inadequacies or peccadilloes. Diana Traveres, the 2nd seat, has a larger role in this novel. Diana is my hero next to the other characters who are all in a place made just for them. The story lines are all realistic if somewhat overblown, but we can believe them. Once you start reading, don’t expect to put the book down.Recommended. 06-15-22 prisrob
When books are adapted for film or television, something is invariably lost. All too often, that means the screenwriter has ignored or butchered every shred of value in the writing. We rejoice when the characters a novelist has created emerge full-bodied on the screen. And there is, indeed, much to praise in the way Apple TV+ has conveyed Mick Herron’s Slough House crew to the series now streaming online. Not just the stars, the accomplished actors Gary Oldman and Kristin Scott Thomas, shine on-screen. The supporting cast does an equally stellar job. And that’s not just me talking. The critics seem to agree. The series works. Still, there is, sadly, something missing in the TV adaptation: Herron’s humor. Every one of the novels abounds with it. And it explodes on the pages of his eighth Slow Horse novel, Bad Actors, which is laugh-out-loud funny.A BEAUTIFULLY PLOTTED STORY, TWISTING AND TURNING ALL THE WAYThe Slough House novels stand out for three reasons from the crowd of espionage fiction filling bookstore shelves. Humor, for one, of course. Herron’s prose is fresh and clever to a fault. The dialogue sings. Second, the finely drawn characterizations of the misfits and ne’er-do-wells of Slough House, every one of them a gem. And the beautifully plotted stories, which invariably twist and turn so often that it’s a wonder the whole thing doesn’t end up bound into a knot at the end. Bad Actors excels in all three ways. I found myself laughing for page after page. And on more occasions than I can recall, I was open-mouthed at the surprises Herron had laid for me.ESPIONAGE FICTION FOR READERS WITH A HEAD ON THEIR SHOULDERSHow complicated can it get, you ask? Try this on for size:** A Swiss consultant at 10 Downing Street, a “superforecaster,” has gone missing. Her boss there, a sleazeball adviser to the Prime Minister, regards this as an opportunity to make mischief by accusing MI5 of having disappeared her. He really runs the government, so he has the ability to make the accusation stick. He’s already managed to maneuver himself into control of all the Cabinet departments. Now he wants the Security Service, too. But MI5’s First Desk, Diana (Lady Di) Taverner, stands in his way.** Several of the Slow Horses are muttering about something that happened the previous night at Wimbledon. There’s no hint what it was, but it’s clear it was bad. Maybe very bad. So, it would not be surprising if they’ve kept their boss, the slovenly and abusive Jackson Lamb, in the dark. Does this have anything to do with the disappearance of the Swiss consultant? There’s no clue.** Lady Di attends a reception at the Russian Embassy to corner her counterpart at the GRU. He mischievously tells her that he had met in Moscow with the sleazeball adviser. Who, Lady Di knows, did not report the meeting, as the law required. And maybe that Swiss consultant is an agent of Russian intelligence.There’s more. A lot more. But you get the gist of it. There’s room for lots of misadventure in this tale, and you won’t be surprised to find it in abundance.ABOUT THE AUTHORMick Herron won the top award from the British Crime Writers’ Association for one of the Slough House novels. He has published eight to date, and the series is being adapted to the small screen by Apple TV+. It stars Gary Oldman as Jackson Lamb and Kristin Scott Thomas as Lady Di. But Herron published four novels in a detective series starting in 2003. The first Slow Horses book appeared in 2010. He has also published four standalone novels. He was born in England in 1959 and received a degree in English from Balliol College, Oxford.
Bad Actors is the eighth Book in the brilliantly devious Slough House espionage series, set in London, about a group of no-hoper Secret Service agents and their dastardly boss – the revolting but hilariously un-PC Jackson Lamb. I’ve read them all in order and would not recommend beginning the series with this one – you need to know the characters to understand the dynamics at play here. The plot is complicated and you really do have to pay attention to get the full impact. I listened to the audiobook narrated by Gerard Doyle although I gather the final version has a different narrator so won’t comment about this aspect. Set post-Brexit and post-Covid, there’s political intrigue, sinister baddies, black humour, some brilliantly slapstick action scenes, and Lamb’s unique put-downs. These are spy novels for people who don’t read spy novels!The Slow Horses are the joke of The Service – a bunch of young spies who’ve made mistakes not quite bad enough to get them sacked – so are forced to either work in a crumbling building in North London doing apparently pointless research tasks, or quit with no way back. Their escapades have led them into many dangerous situations, and several of their colleagues have not survived, so they’re all depressed and bored stiff. When a devious political fixer with a plan to take over Regent’s Park needs help finding a missing “super-forecaster”, he enlists the help of former First Desk Claude Whelan, but then some of the Slow Horses get involved, and can’t help but make everything worse – or was that Lamb’s cunning plan all along…?The writing is superb as ever – almost poetic at times – but the genius of these is really the unique characters. Diana Taverner has always been the villainess, but we suddenly find ourselves on her side even though she’s as devious as ever. There’s an interesting new Slow Horse, Ashley Kahn, finding her feet while bent on revenge; Roddy Ho is as obnoxious as ever, and Shirley Dander is awesome, but Lamb steals every scene. The previous book ended on a cliffhanger, and I should warn that we are basically left hanging as to that character’s fate. Thanks to RB media for the Audio ARC.
Mick Herron has written, no evoked , it is so real, another Slough House adventure. Life for the Slow Horses may be perpetually sad but Herron’s readers will be happy with his latest tale.
Mick Herron is a brilliant writer! This most recent Slough House installment has it all! It’s funny, thrilling, intelligent but doesn’t hi-brow the reader too much so the story flows so very well! This is a great continuation of the series. Recommend the reader start at book 1 (Slow Horses) and proceed through the series. This book is fantastic!!

 

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