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The Secret Hours Mick Herron

The Secret Hours By Mick Herron

The Secret Hours by Mick Herron

New RRP £8.99
Condition - Very Good
6 in stock


A new standalone novel from 'Britain's greatest living thriller writer' and author of the bestselling Slough House series, now a TV series starring Gary Oldman

The Secret Hours Summary

The Secret Hours: The Instant Sunday Times Bestselling Thriller from the Author of Slow Horses by Mick Herron


*A 'Book of the Year' in The Times, Sunday Times, Guardian, Observer, Daily Telegraph, Spectator, Sunday Express, TLS, Irish Times*

'Pure class' Ian Rankin 'Pitch-perfect' Lee Child

'A powerful standalone spy thriller from a true contemporary master' Daily Telegraph

Trying to investigate the Secret Service is like trying to get rid of the stink of dead badger. Hard.

For two years the government's Monochrome inquiry has produced nothing more than a series of dead ends.

The Service has kept what happened in the newly reunified Berlin under wraps for decades, and intends for it to stay that way.

But then the OTIS file turns up.

What classified secrets does it hold? And what damage will it create?

All Max Janacek knows is that someone is chasing him through the pitch-dark country lanes and they want him gone.


'Wonderful . . . high action, a spinning moral compass, and hidden motives on every page' Michael Connelly

*Mick Herron's The Secret Hours was a Sunday Times Number Four bestseller in hardback in the second week of September 2023

The Secret Hours Reviews

Regular readers will enjoy identifying some familiar Slow Horse characters who appear here under other identities, but of most note is a new maturity to the writing that brings home the human cost of espionage and rejuvenates this terrific series * Sunday Times books of the year *
This was the best year since the 1970s for spy thrillers. Mick Herron's The Secret Hours was a delight -- Tim Shipman * Sunday Times critics favourite read of the year *
A powerful standalone spy thriller from a true contemporary master * Daily Telegraph books of the year *
As Mick Herron observed in his Slow Horses origin novel, The Secret Hours (Baskerville), there's a long list of spy novelists who have been pegged as the heir to John le Carre. Herron must be in pole position for principal legatee * Guardian best crime and thrillers of 2023 *


-- Philip Hensher * The Spectator books of the year *
I devoured The Secret Hours in one sitting -- Peter Frankopan * The Spectator books of the year *

The Secret Hours is bliss

-- Sam Leith * TLS books of the year *

The novel I enjoyed most was The Secret Hours by Mick Herron . . . it is funny, sharply observed and almost uniquely acute and sensitive in its consideration of something most novelists seem to regard with a lofty uninterest: the world of work

-- Keith Miller * TLS books of the year *
This is a more sober work than Herron's comical Slough House novels but even at his most serious he provides more good gags than you'll find in the entire Christmas TV comedy schedule -- Charlotte Heathcote * Daily Mirror crime and thrillers highlight *
A deliciously cynical comedy of manners that is probably Herron's most mature spy novel to date -- Declan Burke * Irish Times best crime fiction of 2023 *
Mick Herron's The Secret Hours was another highlight, and looks certain to bring more awards to the author's growing collection -- Jon Coates * Sunday Express crime and thriller highlights 2023 *
2023 was a vintage year for crime with too many good books to mention but among many others I loved . . . Mick Herron's The Secret Hours * Nation Cymru picks of 2023 *
Not only the finest writer of espionage fiction we have, Mick Herron is also one of the funniest and his latest, The Secret Hours, is proof of both. While not strictly speaking a Slough House novel, it's part of that universe and, for fans of Jackson Lamb (and who isn't?), it's both a thrilling and poignant origin story. Herron is simply incapable of writing a bad book and this is one of his very best -- Mark Billingham, author of THE LAST DANCE * Daily Express books of the year *
The Secret Hours is a genesis story for fans of Mick Herron's Slow Horses series. All his trademarks are here: layered prose, a deftly unravelled plot, lashings of caustic wit, and a cast of morally-compromised yet ultimately sympathetic characters -- Vaseem Khan, author of DEATH OF A LESSER GOD * Daily Express books of the year *
This might just be Mick Herron's best book - elegant prose, machine-tooled plot, mixing tension with humour. Pure class -- Ian Rankin
I doubt I'll read a more enjoyable novel all year. The Secret Hours has it all: thrilling action scenes, crackling dialogue, characters to infuriate and beguile, and a neatly intricate plot. And through it all cuts Herron's acerbic wit, its effect heightened by the glimpses he allows us, from time to time, from his world to ours -- Paula Hawkins, author of THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN
Great Britain has a long, rich history of how-it-really-works espionage fiction, and Mick Herron - stealthy as a secret agent - has written himself to the very top of the list. If you haven't already been recruited, start with The Secret Hours - all Herron's trademark strengths are here: tension, intrigue, observation, humour, absurdity . . . and pitch-perfect prose -- Lee Child, author of the Jack Reacher novels
For a novel about a government inquiry called Monochrome, nothing is black and white in The Secret Hours by Mick Herron. Stunningly plotted and written, this masterclass in intrigue is brimming with tension and paranoid energy. A meaty, breathe-if-you-dare spy thriller with teeth, heart and a sense of humour. An absolute addiction of a read -- Janice Hallett, author of THE APPEAL
The Secret Hours is wonderful. It's Mick Herron at his best, taking us into a dark world where there is high action, a spinning moral compass, and hidden motives on every page. And, oh, yes, the fun - Herron's greatest talent may be the examination of serious things with a perfectly wry sense of humour -- Michael Connelly, author of DESERT STAR
A fantastic book that kept me up all night. Unputdownable! -- Philippa Perry, author of THE BOOK YOU WISH YOUR PARENTS HAD READ
A deft knockout of a story, with an arc of history, written with humour and style. Mick Herron is one of the best writers of spy fiction working today -- Martin Cruz Smith, author of GORKY PARK
Positively pulses with misdirection, deception and deep truths. Mick Herron is a genius -- Sarah Hilary, author of BLACK THORN
Mick Herron is not just one of the best spy writers working today, but one of our best writers -- Charlotte Philby, author of EDITH AND KIM
Herron has become something of a laureate of decrepitude * Guardian *
[Mick Herron] proves himself a modern rival to Ian Fleming and John Le Carre . . . This satire-flecked thriller should establish Herron as an institution * Sunday Times *
[A] terrific new novel . . . Herron's traditional tradecraft is on show - the Blackadderesque relish of words, the spy-like manipulation of the reader, the understanding of how the English fend off the serious with humour * The Times *
Herron is a subtle writer who offers a great deal, including psychological insights that stay with you long after the clever plot is complete * Literary Review *
A fascinating insight into the machinations of the secret service and the witty writing lifts it above the average thriller * Good Housekeeping *
Never has a work of popular fiction delighted me more . . . The Secret Hours will become not so much a novel as a machine for delivering pleasure * The Spectator *
I'll be amazed if I read a better book this year. Tense and darkly comic, with razor-sharp prose that revels in the absurdity of modern-day Britain, The Secret Hours achieves the seemingly impossible by improving on the Slough House series * Daily Express *
Herron keeps up his gravity-defying balancing act: belly-laugh spy spoof on one side, elegiac state-of-the-nation satire on the other, with a thin, taut line of polished prose between * Financial Times *
The Secret Hours has all of Herron's tight plotting and characteristically low-key humour . . . It's an excellent standalone, but fans of his Slough House books would do well to pick it up too * Observer *
Mick Herron is one of the beadiest satirists of our times . . . one of his best books yet * Daily Telegraph *
Twisty, intriguing fun * The i *
A very clever and often darkly funny tale of espionage . . . A thoroughly enjoyable spy romp * Radio Times *
With all the contemporary wit and humour that fans have come to love, as well as his deeply flawed and believable characters, Herron weaves another unputdownable tale as he follows two civil servants tasked with investigating misconduct in the British secret service. A perfect cat-and-mouse chase from this very modern master of the espionage thriller. It's easy to see why Herron is often called the heir to John Le Carre -- Gloss
Blisteringly exciting and darkly funny * Radio Times *
Safe to say Herron's trademark humour is woven in throughout . . . Big issues come under the spotlight - who owns your data, identity, loyalty, truth and realpolitik, but all the characters feel human and individual. Though it's described as a standalone and can easily be read as such, lovers of the Slough House series will pick up on some familiar characters being illuminated in new ways * Aberdeen Journal *
This is a stand-alone thriller of extreme brilliance (obviously), but it also works as a deeply satisfying origin story for aspects of the existing books -- India Knight * Sunday Times *
I can't think of many things more pleasurable than hunkering down with Mick Herron's Slow Horses series, capped off with this year's deeply satisfying The Secret Hours . . . I like these better than John le Carre, which is saying something -- India Knight * Sunday Times my favourite books to curl up with at Christmas *
A master of espionage fiction and a treat to read -- Kate Kellaway * Observer *
Mick Herron is our best and most topical spy writer -- Ian Rankin * Guardian, What We're Reading *
Herron steps away from his Slow Horses, but not the world of espionage, for this thriller . . . offering a revealing sidelight into the pre-history of Slough House. More sombre than usual but still compelling * Mail on Sunday *
Wryly humorous in places, well written and full of tension * Irish Examiner *
Nobody does disenchanted spies quite like Mick Herron, and in the standalone thriller The Secret Hours, read by the always impressive Sean Barrett, he is on top form. Fans of the Slough House series will be delighted by this tale of a cold war mission in Berlin gone wrong . . . A rich seam of disillusion is baked into Barrett's rendition; you can almost see the anonymous corridors of power shutting doors in the investigators' faces * Financial Times *
Superbly, breathtakingly, well-plotted -- Alice O'Keeffe * Bookseller *
Fans of the Slough House series will rejoice at this standalone thriller, once again set in a world of espionage, from which all glamour is largely expunged . . . Beginning with a breathlessly exciting pursuit, and moving on to a separate timeline set in post-reunification Berlin, the author's mordant wit is finely deployed on every page - just one of the familiar elements that will delight readers. Watch out for a terrific twist * Bookseller *
Herron has been compared to John le Carre for the intricacy of his plotting and the thoroughness of his world building, though the two men differ greatly in tone and in focus. He has also been compared to Charles Dickens and P.G. Wodehouse for his lacerating descriptions and delight in the absurd . . . The Secret Hours is classic Herron, featuring mordant humour, bureaucratic power plays, underappreciated functionaries, bravura action sequences and at least one unexpected casualty * New York Times *
Herron's narrative moves with ease between present and past, England and Germany, action and satire * Dow Jones Mysteries *
I'm going to read it again, out of sheer admiration for its plotting * Tablet *

About Mick Herron

Mick Herron is the #1 Sunday Times bestselling author of the Slough House thrillers, which have won the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year award, two CWA Daggers, been published in twenty-five languages, and are the basis of a major TV series starring Gary Oldman as Jackson Lamb. He is also the author of the Zoe Boehm series, and the standalone novels Reconstruction and This is What Happened. Mick was born in Newcastle upon Tyne, and now lives in Oxford.

Additional information

The Secret Hours: The Instant Sunday Times Bestselling Thriller from the Author of Slow Horses by Mick Herron
Used - Very Good
John Murray Press
Book picture is for illustrative purposes only, actual binding, cover or edition may vary.
This is a used book - there is no escaping the fact it has been read by someone else and it will show signs of wear and previous use. Overall we expect it to be in very good condition, but if you are not entirely satisfied please get in touch with us

Customer Reviews - The Secret Hours