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Bad Actors

On sale

13th April 2023

Price: £9.99

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Selected: Paperback / ISBN-13: 9781529378726

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*Discover The Secret Hours, the gripping new thriller from Mick Herron and an unmissable read for Slough House fans*

*Now a major TV series starring Gary Oldman*


‘A pitch-perfect espionage thriller’ Sunday Times

In MI5 a scandal is brewing and there are bad actors everywhere.

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, is tasked with tracking 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.

*Includes the short story Standing by the Wall: A Slough House Interlude*

‘The foremost living spy novelist in the English language’ New Statesman

‘This is entertainment of the highest class’ Literary Review

‘The man is a genius’ The Spectator


Philip Hensher, The Spectator
Bad Actors took a big step into literary excellence. The dazzling, Conrad-like structure turned an entertainment into a major literary statement
Oliver Bulloughs, Waterstones
I love Mick Herron's books, both for what they are - which is: pitch-perfect, fantastically-written, hilariously-funny spy capers - and also for what they say about Britain . . . Herron is not just a top-notch thriller writer, but a satirist of the first order
Sunday Times
Bad Actors is both thriller and anti-thriller: subverting and denying the treats you expect from the genre, but then providing them in a twisted form after all
Nikki May, Great British Life
Jackson Lamb is the greatest literary creation of this century . . . Herron is master of the metaphor and his extraordinarily well-plotted books are always centred on real-life events
Mail on Sunday
An ingeniously structured caper
Shots Mag
Satire at its best along with him being one of the best spy thriller writers around
Daily Express
Britain's finest contemporary thriller series
The Times
There's no doubting Herron's intelligence. Will he prove to be our age's Anthony Trollope? . . . Few other contemporary thrillers, at any event, would have the confidence to make a plot point of the post-Brexit residency status of some of Lazio's hardcore Curva Nord football fans . . . [Bad Actors] deserves the bouquets that will come its way, and Herron is building a series with lasting resonance. We'll miss the show when some day he decides to bring the curtain down
Tim Shipman, Sunday Times Culture
A pitch-perfect espionage thriller and a double delight for political nerds as it thrusts the slow horses into a Russian intelligence operation in Westminster . . . What Bad Actors shows is that he has inherited le Carré's mantle for using the thriller to dissect the times in which he lives . . . Bad Actors is his most piquant political satire, dripping with tart observations about our unruly rulers
Literary Review
Anyone who enjoys Mick Herron's masterful political satires and fantastical spy fiction must be afraid that one day his powers of invention will falter. It hasn't happened yet. Bad Actors is as good as ever . . . This novel contains some serious, hard-hitting emotions alongside the wit, neat plotting, great action scenes, beautiful descriptions and wonderful schoolboy smut (placed in the mouth of Lamb) we have come to associate with Herron's writing. This is entertainment of the highest class
Irish Times
This highly topical, beautifully written, indecently entertaining book maintains the impeccably high standards Herron has set for this essential series
New York Times
What spurs me to keep reading each new instalment is Herron's absurdist voice, which could devolve into cheap cynicism but never does
Daily Mail
Written with the gifted Herron's typical wit, and with Lamb's personality pervading every page, this is the antithesis of the discreet George Smiley
Daily Express (Scotland), Daily Mirror
One of the best entries in an outstanding series
i Paper
What we're reading
Daily Record
It's beautifully written with a satisfyingly complex plot and an explosive finale
Sunday Times, Thriller of the Month
Like all of Herron's enthralling series, Bad Actors is both thriller and anti-thriller, subverting and denying the treats you expect from the genre, but then sardonically providing them in a twisted form after all
The Spectator
Anyone who tries to understand modern Britain through its fiction but overlooks Mick Herron's satirical thrillers merits a punishment posting to the critics' version of Slough House . . . Snappily paced, his comic prose fizzes with an epigrammatic chutzpah, softened by elegiac grace notes. . . Herron, in Wodehouse or Pratchett mode, fashions a self-sustaining comic realm . . . it's the line-by-line hits of patter and backchat - part-Noël Coward, part-Joe Orton - that spritz every page
Sunday Express
Beautifully written with a satisfyingly complex plot and an explosive finale. Herron remains Britain's finest living thriller writer . . . [A] remarkable talent
Mail on Sunday, Mail Online
New readers attracted by the TV version of Slow Horses will find Herron at his very best
John Gray, New Statesman
The foremost living spy novelist in the English language
Robert Macfarlane
I roared through Mick Herron's new Slough House novel, Bad Actors, with the odious, odorous genius Jackson Lamb at its heart, and a couple of loathsome main characters who surely only coincidentally resemble well-known British political figures of our time
The Spectator
The man is a genius
The Times
One of the most consistently enjoyable literary achievements of the past decade
Mail on Sunday
Mixes his trademark black comedy with insights into the tangled moral universe we inhabit . . . Herron at his very best
Tim Shipman, Sunday Times
Herron stands firmly in the line of descent from Ian Fleming. It is fitting that he has been given the broadcast treatment because - following the death of John le Carré - he is at the summit of what I believe is a new golden age of spy fiction . . . Herron began writing about a private detective and switched to spy thrillers in 2010, but it was eight years before he made it big. While he won awards, his books barely sold. His second, Dead Lions (2013), did not even secure a hardback release in the UK. It was only when the publisher John Murray rescued him from obscurity that he began to enjoy commercial success - he recently topped one million sales for the Slough House series
John Lewis-Stempel, Country Life books of the year
Mick Herron's Slough House spy thrillers, about a duff MI5 unit, got me through journeys, despite egregious politicking (the latest, Bad Actors, is in paperback)