• Bad Actors

  • Slough House, Book 8
  • By: Mick Herron
  • Narrated by: Gerard Doyle
  • Length: 10 hrs and 51 mins
  • 4.7 out of 5 stars (300 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

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

Soon to be 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.

©2022 Mick Herron (P)2022 Recorded Books

What listeners say about Bad Actors

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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Big disappointment

The last novel in the Slow Horses series, Slough House, ended on a cliffhanger: River Cartwright has been poisoned. He lies on the floor, losing consciousness, while Sid Baker calls 999 and begs River to stay alive.

That was book seven. So when you start reading book eight, you expect to learn the fate of River and Sidonie, if not right away then soon.

That doesn't happen. River is gone. He not only isn't in this book: he is barely mentioned. Any reference to him is brief and in the past tense. Meanwhile, there is no trace of Sid at all.

So, is River dead? If so, there are no repercussions. No one is trying to find out who killed him and why. No one is mourning. Is Sid dead, too? Her name is never uttered.

At the very end Louisa hints that River might still be alive. Really? if he is in a hospital healing from the attempted murder, why does no one mention him? Why don't they visit him? Why not talk about whether or not he's coming back? Why don't they want to find who did it, to avenge his death?

Instead this is a story animated by...nothing. There are two new characters, one an evil politico, the other possibly a double agent. She is blond and beautiful and has disappeared. Yawn. Neither one of them makes a strong impression. I'm sorry to say that parts of the book were a little tedious.

There is clever writing and there are entertaining scenes, as always. Roddy Ho has funny moments, Shirley too. Louisa and Lech are there, moving the plot along. Jackson Lamb is spending too much time talking with Diana Taverner who should either be in jail or dead by now. Catherine has turned into the drone of Slough House, part hall monitor, part governess. She has lost any trace of a personality.

Although the Slow Horses books are ensemble pieces, River stands out. Jackson Lamb is important but River is the closest thing to a main character. Yet in this book it's as if he never existed. I felt cheated.






4 people found this helpful

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Not the best in the series

I have listened to all the Slough House books and this one was my least favorite. Very little happens until Chapter 13. I think Herron is a brilliant writer but this book isn't sure whether it wants to be a comedy or, what I had always thought the series was: espionage. The espionage plot is very thin and so too much time is spent in comedic scenarios with the quirky but quickly irritating inmates of Slough House. In the other books, their quirkiness is diluted and diverted by the intricate plot, but not here. And the delayed info on River just made me mad. It was a big gaping hole that wasn't fixed until the end. That's not clever, it's irritating. I was heartened to see that Herron had rolled Bachelor into the book, after having followed him in the novellas.

2 people found this helpful

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Wonderful. Intriguing.

One may think that the espionage conceit has run its course. The Slow Horses prove otherwise. Read them and weep - in the best possible manner. Humour & humanity pervade a mastery of language.

1 person found this helpful

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Another winner!

Another excellent addition to the series. Stellar narration, fast-paced, and above and beyond most other books in the genre.

1 person found this helpful

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Best Slough House yet

Gerald Doyle's performance of Bad Actors was great! Herrings stories are interesting and keep one entertained.

1 person found this helpful

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Fabulous!

Mick Harron is the best! Once I started this book I couldn’t stop. I missed River but it didn’t reduce the excitement of the story. I’m eagerly awaiting book 9.

1 person found this helpful

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Love it, laughed at it and can’t wait until 9

I enjoyed it so much and laughed so loud sometimes it bothered my family!!! Wonderful!!

1 person found this helpful

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Please say there will be another book

wow!! Gerard Doyle is one of my top 5 favorite narrators. And again he scored a double century. His talents and Herron's are a perfect match. Who but these two could create a heroine of a coked up hedonist like Shirley? now my favorite slow horse. Much as I love River, focus on other horses kept the series lively along with topical British politics. Ah, where have you gone Dominic Cummings?

Book 10 may well be my favorite. Hope Gary Oldman sticks around and TV gods don't miss this winner.

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excellent

I don't know if there's another one coming (or more) in the series, but their eas could/should be. I thought the River mystery was brilliant suspense and excellent writing.

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Crazy rollicking fun. More! More!

Witty clever original twists and turns among vivid characters who somehow survive the mayhem, even as the physical world is animated in its own right. Performance is perfection itself. May we not have to wait too long for….