Dead Lions

Dead Lions is a sequel to Mick Herron's Slow Horses. When Britain's MI5 intelligence service agents grow old and less effective, the "slow horses" depart Regents' House for Slough House, where they're given uninspiring paperwork to do with antiquated equipment. They're not supposed to catch anyone; they're "supposed to get bored and go join a security firm."

When agent Dickie Bow is found dead on a bus (without a ticket) outside Oxford, Slough House's boss, the irascible and rotund Jackson Lamb, is convinced it's murder. He travels to Reading to examine the bus Bow was riding on; wedged in the seat crack, he finds Bow's cell phone. It has a one-word message on it, never sent: "cicadas."

Lamb is of the opinion that a spy from the past, Alexander Popov, is somehow involved in Bow's death--although it's also possible Popov never existed, an imaginary agent created by MI5. River Cartwright, another character from Slow Horses, returns to provide some excellent detective work. Meanwhile, two other Slough House agents are assigned to escort a wealthy Russian oil magnate, Arkady Pashkin, during his visit to London.

Things get complicated as Herron's tale unfolds and the threat of bombs going off in London becomes a distinct possibility. If you like your suspense novels told with a smart dash of wit and sarcasm, filled with lots of twists and turns, Herron's your man. --Tom Lavoie, former publisher

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