Mick Herron has been called a modern John le Carré for his British mystery thrillers. All of the Mick Herron books in order contain themes of espionage and psychological suspense.
He is well-known for his Slough House series, especially with its recent adaptation. However, he also has more books in his bibliography for fans to enjoy. Keep reading to find out more about how you should read all his books in order.
Who is Mick Herron?
Mick Herron is an English mystery thriller author who was born in Newcastle upon Tyne. He attended post-secondary and graduated with an English degree from Balliol College in Oxford, which is where he still lives.
He wrote his first book while commuting between Oxford and London, squeezing in the time to write 350 words a day until his first novel, Down Cemetery Road, was published in 2003. This is the first book in the Zoë Boehm series, or The Oxford Investigations, which is where it largely takes place.
Herron has also written quite a few short stories, many of which first appeared in Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine. He has also published two short story collections during the last almost 20 years.
However, in 2008 Herron began writing what has since become his longest and most well-known series: Slough House. This series takes place in London, revolving around the titular Slough House. Herron actually describes the location of the house in such detail in his books, that keen fans have been able to find the location of this fictional haunt, which is near the Barbican Tube Station.
The premise of the series concerns former MI5 agents who have been cast aside for past misdemeanours. They’re sent to Slough House, but all of them what to be redeemed in the eyes of MI5. So, when a chance arises to sleuth their way back into good graces, they jump at the opportunity.
Will there be more Mick Herron books in order?
Mick Herron’s publisher, the new crime imprint Baskerville, already has at least three more titles from the author lined up, so more Mick Herron books in order is a near certainty. The books that are part of that deal will include one standalone and two more Slough House novels.
Mick Herron Books in Order
The Oxford Investigations Books
The first series on this list of the Mick Herron books in order contains his debut and that is The Oxford Investigations series. Its more colloquial title is the Zoë Boehm series as she is one of the main characters.
The storylines of Zoë, an Oxford private investigator with a violent, troubled past and a remarkable phobia of death, will converge with Sarah Tucker, a dissatisfied housewife in a remote Oxford suburb.
It is very important to read these books in original publication order, as later books — particularly the last — will contain character development spoilers.
- Down Cemetery Road (2003)
- The Last Voice You Hear (2004)
- Why We Die (2006)
- Smoke and Whispers (2009)
Slough House Books
Next up is Mick Herron’s most well-known series with eight novels and three novellas. A bind-up of the novellas will be published in November 2022. This collection will also have a brand new holiday-themed interlude.
Slough House is where former British intelligence agents for the MI5 must go if they make a disastrous call on a case and prove themselves unreliable. To end up at Slough House as a “slow horse” these agents bring with them a trail of disgrace, and it is these characters we follow.
But they also have a burning desire for redemption, which means these agents will do whatever it takes once given the chance to pursue justice again.
As these books follow the same cast of characters, it is best to read them in order to fully understand the motivations of the characters and their relationship with each other. There also may be minor spoilers for past events or character revelations if you read the books out of order. The chronological order is the same as the publication order.
- Slow Horses (2010)
- Dead Lions (2013)
- The List (2015) (Novella)
- Real Tigers (2016)
- Spook Street (2017)
- London Rules (2018)
- The Marylebone Drop / The Drop (2018) (Novella)
- Joe Country (2019)
- The Catch (2020) (Novella)
- Slough House (2021)
- Bad Actors (2022)
- Standing by the Wall (2022) (Novella Collection)
Is There a Slow Horses TV Show?
Slough House has recently been adapted for the screen with an Apple TV+ show, Slow Horses, adapting the 2010 novel by the same name. It stars Gary Oldman as Jackson Lamb, alongside Kristin Scott Thomas, Jonathan Pryce, Saskia Reeves, Olivia Cooke, and Jack Lowden.
In June 2022, Apple TV+ confirmed a second season of Slow Horses was on it’s way. Digital Spy says it’s already been filmed and just waiting for it’s air date.
Going a step further, TVLine claims it’s already been renewed for Seasons 3 and 4 as well.
Mick Herron has also published three standalone novels. However, Nobody Walks does take place in the Slough House world and feature some of its characters. Just like his series, these books feature high stakes psychological suspense with lots of twists and turns.
- Reconstruction (2008)
- Nobody Walks (2015)
- This is What Happened (2018)
- The Secret Hours (Expected: September 12, 2023)
Short Story Collections
If you adore Mick Herron’s writing and would like to experience more of it, he also has collected his short stories into two publications. Both short story collections feature standalone mysteries as well as stories that follow his Slough House characters or P.I. Zoë Boehm. However, All the Livelong Day and Other Stories is now out of print.
- All the Livelong Day and Other Stories (2013) (Out of Print)
- Dolphin Junction: Stories (2021)
Finally, Mick Herron has also had his work published in two anthology collections.
- The Mammoth Books of Best British Crime 8 (2011)
- The Usual Santas (2016)
A Summary of Mick Herron Books in Order
Below you will find summaries for Mick Herron’s Slough House series. These summaries will tell you a little bit more about the resilience of the characters that many have come to know and love. The below summaries only feature the full-length novels, leaving off summaries for the novellas.
1. Slow Horses
This is Jackson Lamb’s kingdom: A dumping ground for spies who’ve screwed up. Once high fliers, they’re now slow horses, condemned to a life of pushing paper as punishment for crimes of drugs and drunkenness, lechery and failure, politics and betrayal.
In drab and mildewed offices, these highly-trained spies moan and squabble, stare at the walls, and dream of better days. Not one of them joined the Intelligence Service to be a slow horse. The one thing they have in common is their desire to be back in the action.
So when a young man is kidnapped and held hostage, his beheading scheduled for live broadcast on the net, the slow horses aren’t going to just sit quietly and watch. And unless they can prove they’re not as useless as they’re thought to be, a public execution is going to echo around the world.
2. Dead Lions
From the Intelligence Service purgatory that is Slough House, where disgraced spies are sent to see out the dregs of their careers, Jackson Lamb is on his way to Oxford, where a former spook has turned up dead on a bus.
Dickie Bow was a talented streetwalker once, good at following people and bringing home their secrets. He was in Berlin with Lamb, back in the day. But he’s not an obvious target for assassination in the here and now.
On Dickie’s phone Lamb finds the last message he ever left, which hints that an old-time Moscow-style op is being run in the Intelligence Service’s back-yard. Once a spook, always a spook, and even being dead doesn’t mean you can’t uncover secrets.
Dickie Bow might have tailed his last target, but Lamb and his crew of no-hopers are about to go live.
3. Real Tigers
Slough House is the Intelligence Service outpost for failed spies, former high-fliers now dubbed the “slow horses.” Catherine Standish, one of their number, worked in Regent’s Park long enough to understand treachery, double-dealing, and stabbing in the back. She’s also been acquaintances with Jackson Lamb long enough to know that old sins cast long shadows. And she also knows that chance encounters never happen to spooks, even recovering drunks whose careers have crashed and burned.
What she doesn’t know is why anyone would target her.
So whoever’s holding her hostage, it can’t be personal. It must be about Slough House. Most likely, it’s about Jackson Lamb. And say what you like about Lamb, he’ll never leave a joe in the lurch.
He might even be someone you could trust with your life.
4. Spook Street
Twenty years retired from the Intelligence Service, David Cartwright still knows where all the bones are buried. But when he forgets that secrets are supposed to stay hidden, there’s suddenly a target on his back.
The “Old Bastard” raised his grandson to be a hero, not a slow horse. Now, far from joining the myths and legends of Spook Street, River Cartwright is part of Jackson Lamb’s team of pen-pushing no-hopers at Slough House. Which doesn’t mean he won’t ditch everything and go rogue when his grandfather comes under threat.
Lamb worked with Cartwright back in the day, and knows better than most that this is no innocent old man. So when a panic button raises the alarm at Intelligence Service HQ, it’s Lamb who must identify the body. And it’s Lamb who’ll do whatever’s necessary to protect an agent in peril.
5. London Rules
At Regent’s Park, the Intelligence Service HQ, new First Desk Claude Whelan is learning the job the hard way.
Tasked with protecting a beleaguered Prime Minister, he’s facing attack from all directions: From the showboating MP who orchestrated the Brexit vote, and now has his sights set on Number Ten; from the showboat’s wife, a tabloid columnist, who’s crucifying Whelan in print; and especially from his own deputy, Lady Di Taverner, who’s alert for Claude’s every stumble. Meanwhile, there is an apparently random string of terror attacks unfolding across the country.
Over at Slough House, the last stop for washed-up spies, the crew are struggling with personal problems: Repressed grief, various addictions, retail paralysis, and the nagging suspicion that their newest colleague is a psychopath. But collectively, they’re about to rediscover their greatest strength — making a bad situation much, much worse.
6. Joe Country
In Slough House, the backwater for failed spies, memories are stirring, all of them bad. Catherine Standish is buying booze again and Louisa Guy is raking over the ashes of lost love. Meanwhile, new recruit Lech Wicinski, whose sins make him an outcast even among the slow horses, is insistent that he will discover who destroyed his career, even if he tears his life apart in the process.
With winter taking its grip Jackson Lamb would sooner be brooding in peace, but even he can’t ignore the old blood on his carpets. So when the man responsible for killing a slow horse breaks cover at last, Lamb sends his crew out to even the score.
7. Slough House
Slough House — the crumbling office building to which failed spies, the “slow horses,” are banished — no longer exists on secret service records.
Reeling from recent losses in their ranks, the slow horses are worried they’ve been pushed further into the cold, and fatal accidents keep happening.
With a new populist movement taking a grip on London’s streets, the aftermath of a blunder by the Russian secret service that left a British citizen dead, and the old order ensuring that everything’s for sale to the highest bidder, the world’s an uncomfortable place for those deemed surplus to requirements. The wise move would be to find a safe place and wait for the troubles to pass.
But the slow horses aren’t famed for making wise decisions.
8. Bad Actors
A key member of a Downing Street think-tank has disappeared without a trace. Claude Whelan, one-time First Desk of MI5’s Regent’s Park, must track her down. But the trail leads straight back to Regent’s Park HQ itself, with its chief, Diana Taverner, as prime suspect. Meanwhile, her Russian counterpart has unexpectedly shown up in London but has slipped under MI5’s radar.
Over at Slough House, the home for demoted and embittered spies, the slow horses are doing what they do best: Adding a little bit of chaos to an already unstable situation.
In a world where lying, cheating, and backstabbing is the norm, bad actors are bending the rules for their own gain. If the slow horses want to change the script, they’ll need to get their own act together before the final curtain.
Final thoughts on Mick Herron books in order
While his Slough House series is his most well-known, all of the Mick Herron books in order contain the themes that make his longest series so beloved. If you enjoy reading espionage books with morally-conflicted characters and psychological suspense, then you should definitely begin reading the Mick Herron books in order.
Looking for more books in order?
Check out this list of Peter James books in order.