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Publisher's Summary

Preorder Bad Actors now—soon to be a major TV series starring Gary Oldman. 

The eighth book in the critically acclaimed and best-selling Slough House series by Mick Herron, who has been called "The new king of the spy thriller" (Mail on Sunday).

Intelligence has a new home. 

A governmental think-tank, whose remit is to curb the independence of the intelligence service, has lost one of its key members, and Claude Whelan—one-time head of MI5's Regent's Park—is tasked with tracking her down. But the trail leads straight back to the Park itself, with Diana Taverner as chief suspect. Has Diana overplayed her hand at last? What's her counterpart, Moscow's First Desk, doing in London? And does Jackson Lamb know more than he's telling? 

Over at Slough House, with Shirley Dander in rehab, Roddy Ho in dress rehearsal and new recruit Ashley Khan turning up the heat, 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.

©2022 Mick Herron (P)2022 Hodder & Stoughton

Critic Reviews

"Herron has certainly devised the most completely realised espionage universe since that peopled by George Smiley." (The Times)

"Herron's novels are genuinely thrilling." (Daily Telegraph)

"Britain's finest living thriller writer." (Sunday Express)

What listeners say about Bad Actors

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  • Brian
  • 05-17-22

Everything the TV adaptation missed.

These John Bachelor offshoots give further insights into the world of the slow horses. The unknown link to so many of their downfalls, he draws trouble everywhere he goes.

Fantastic narration by Sean Barret as usual. The Jackson Lamb portrayed here is what the TV show missed. Brash, cunning, fearless and always the laugh out loud quips and deliberately scripted malapropisms, I so look forward to every book. I hope Mick Herron has another ready soon.

The best spy novelist around, a nod to Le Carrie but the humour is all his own, with lines that will inspire writers for years to come.

"let me just play devil's avacado" being one of my favourites from a previous book. So many gems in this I will listen again.

Thanks Mick and Sean for yet another escape and so much food for thought.

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  • Boggy of Bucks
  • 05-17-22

I love these books

Sean Barrett is the perfect person to voice the characters in these stories. I cannot imagine a more perfect Jackson Lamb voice from any other actor.
Mick Herron’s cynicism of government and hierarchy is infectious, and I love the satire that absolutely nails the character of the PM (it’s got to be Boris) the Home Secretary (all of them, but definitely Priti Patel in this book) and the special advisors. So believable.

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  • T Grist
  • 05-17-22

Perfect but for one thing...

I found this series of books by seeking out other books narrated by Sean Barrett. From Jo Nesbo to Wallander to here.
I have come to adore the characters in these stories and was not let down.
The only person who seems to have been let down is the amazing Sean Barrett. Whoever is responsible for editing the audiobook was either in a rush or was not very good to start with. There are at least 5 or 6 badly edited parts and not enough attention has been paid to recording his voice.
Don't let that put you off. Consider them Jackson Lamb farting or scratching himself and carry on
Great story with loads of laughs directed at politicians and their staff we all know.
Well done Mick Herron and Sean Barrett.

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  • Richard Laurence
  • 05-16-22

Another fantastic book in the Slough House aero

I am lucky that I only found this series recently - I’ve gone through the whole series and was pleased when this new title was released with perfect timing for me.

One point - I counted 3(?) editing errors where the narrator decided to read a sentence over again. Not a big issue, but something that needs addressing.

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  • Jeffrey Slater
  • 05-16-22

Excellent, you must read it!

Apart from the audio editing, which was poor (mainly repeats) it is excellent. It is made even better by the absence of the unbelievably stupid River Cartwright, howver, he is set to return (nooooooo!). The others are all on splendid form. Read it! It is a serious contender as the best so far.

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  • Lord Emsworth
  • 05-15-22

A few errors in the audio recording to be fixed

A new Mick Herron Slough House book is always cause for celebration.

Needless to say if you have not read or listened to the previous books in this series then do that before reading Bad Actors (2022). It's not essential but it is a pleasure and helps to contextualise this latest installment.

Mick Herron is a superb writer: beautiful prose, humour, inventive and thrilling action scenes, creative dialogue, all aligned to consumate, precision engineered plots.

In Bad Actors a new character takes centre stage. He's the prime minister's special advisor and enforcer, and the power behind the throne. He's also a disruptor and a keen blogger. Who could have inspired him?

To my intense relief, Bad Actors is less tragic and more comedic than some more recent Slough House novels, but still every bit as good as those books that preceded it.

If you've not read or listened to this series, or this book, don't delay, you're in for a treat.

There are a few errors in the audio recording to be fixed but otherwise superb as always

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  • k.
  • 05-15-22

Oh dear Mr Barrett

I adore Sean Barrett's voice - he is one narrator that I could listen to reading the back of a cornflakes box. But this production seems to be lacking that marvellous bass resonance which makes his voice so entrancing. He is a first class narrator however I actually went back to Spook Street just to check that the narrator hadn't changed ! There are more than a few outtakes that haven't been caught by edit - more so than in previous books - which I found disrupted the listening pleasure.

Jackson Lamb has also apparently succumbed to pressure; he seems to now be slightly less ascerbic, more pc, and by comparison, less "Jackson Lamb." I'd still want to go to the pub with him though.

Overall I am feeling slightly underwhelmed by the production of the latest Slow Horse's outing - but will say the pairing of Messers Barrett and Herron is still up there in my favourite all-time top 5.

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  • Alex
  • 05-15-22

Disappointing!

It's always great getting back to "old friends" and I was so looking forward to this book.

It definitely wasn't his best and I have been left in limbo with an unfinished ending. I was so hoping to hear more about River and trust that this isn't the end of the series. :(

The narration as ever was true perfection!

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  • paul sparks
  • 05-15-22

Shirley Dander for PM!

She has always been a character I enjoyed listening about and in this post covid (at long last some humour about this) Shirley once again wreaks devastation and destruction on all within her orbit, and a worthy replacement of someone more unpleasant than PJ with the appearance of sparrow.

Brilliant book with the addition of a master narrator

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  • tomomo
  • 05-14-22

Audio needs editing.

Sean Barrett is excellent as usual, but there are several errors in the narration which need to be edited out.
A solid Slough House, though occasionally too near to self-imitation. Some vintage Jackson Lamb.

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  • Valerie
  • 05-17-22

Lamb over Bond anytime

Loved this book and the narrator was perfection as always. I missed River but Shirley almost made up for his absence.