Born in 1963, Mick Herron is a distinguished British mystery and thriller writer often likened to the iconic John Le Carré. His notable body of work includes “The Slough House series,” which is set to grace Apple TV+ screens with a star-studded cast featuring Gary Oldman and Kristin Scott Thomas.
Herron embarked on his writing journey with the release of “Down Cemetery Road” in 2003, marking the inception of the Oxford mysteries series. Currently residing in the historic city of Oxford, Mick Herron dedicates himself to the craft of writing full-time. His novels are offering readers a captivating blend of mystery, intrigue, and masterful prose that has garnered comparisons to some of the genre’s most revered authors.
How to read Mick Herron’s Books in Order?
Reading The Zoë Boehm series in order (also called Oxford series)
- Down Cemetery Road (2003) – Sarah Tucker, a young married lady who is bored and dissatisfied with family life, gets fixated with locating the girl after a house explodes in a quiet Oxford neighborhood and she vanishes in the aftermath. When Sarah’s investigation reveals that people who have been long thought dead are still among the living while the living are rapidly joining the dead, she finds herself questioning everything she has ever known. Sarah is used to boring household chores in a childless home and hosting her husband’s tiresome business clients for dinner.
- The Last Voice You Hear (2004) – Since she shot the person who was trying to murder her, Zoe Boehm has had a strong dislike of dying. Zo wants nothing to do with the case as a result of Caroline Daniels’ fatal fall in front of a train and her lover’s absence from the burial. However, Caroline’s boss is relentless, and as Zo tries to learn more about a lady she has never met while looking for a guy who may be anywhere, she begins to wonder whether he has already found her. If he has, will she become the next victim or will she be saved from a crippling terror as a result?
- Why We Die (2006) – When Zoe Boehm offers to find the group responsible for destroying Sweeney’s jewelry store, she only wants to make a profit before tax time. She most definitely doesn’t anticipate ending up in a coffin. However, she’s about to become involved with a bizarre cast of people, beginning with the suicidal Tim Whitby who is devoting the last of his life to defending the attractive, beaten Katrina Blake from her late husband’s psychopathic brothers, Arkle and Trent.
- Smoke and Whispers (2009) – Sarah Tucker travels to Newcastle to take a closer look at the body that has been pulled from the River Tyne. Although she names the deceased as private investigator Zo Boehm, doing so just begs further doubts about her identity. Zoe committed herself, or perhaps one of her past cases came back to haunt her? Why was she donning a jacket that had been taken by a killer years earlier? What drew Gerard Inchon, Sarah’s old sparring partner, to the same run-down motel where she is staying? Coincidence is a justification that quickly loses its credibility. No matter how risky the answers might turn out to be, Sarah must stay until she has them.
Reading The Slough House series in order (Jackson Lamb)
The Slough House serves as the forlorn destination for MI5 spies whose once-promising careers have taken a downward spiral. Whether they’ve crossed paths with ambitious colleagues who pulled the rug from under them or succumbed to the allure of excessive drinking, these agents find themselves relegated to this obscure outpost. It’s a place where their former glory has faded, and they must contend with the remnants of their shattered dreams and tarnished reputations. Despite their expertise and past achievements, they now reside in the shadows, grappling with personal and professional demons while navigating the enigmatic world of intelligence work from the fringes of Slough House.
Now, if they want to get back in the action, they have to collaborate with one another. For more information, go see The Slough House series reading order.
- Slow Horses (2010)
- Dead Lions (2013)
- The List (2015, novella)
- Real Tigers (2016)
- Spook Street (2017)
- London Rules (2018)
- The Marylebone Drop (2018, novella) – aka The Drop.
- Joe Country (2019)
- The Catch (2020, novella)
- Slough House (2021)
- Bad Actors (2022)
- Standing by the Wall: A Slough House Interlude (2022, novella)
Reading Stand-alone novels by Mick Herron
- Reconstruction (2008) – Not considered part of the Slough House series, this book is set in the same universe and can be considered as a prequel (for Bad Sam Chapman) and it’s also sometimes considered as the fifth book in the Oxford series (without Zoë Boehm). When an operational catastrophe puts a gun in the hands of a young man, who then breaks into South Oxford Nursery School and takes a group of hostages, teacher Louise Kennedy fears the worst. But Jaime Segura isn’t there on a homicidal mission, and he’s just as scared as those whose lives he holds as collateral. As an armed police presence builds outside the school’s gates, Bad Sam Chapman – head of the intelligence service’s internal security force, the Dogs – battles the clock to find out what Jaime is after.
- Nobody Walks (2015) – Not considered part of the Slough House series, this book is set in the same universe and uses some of the same characters. To read between The List and Spook Street. It follows Tom Bettany, a man with a violent past and only one thing to live for: Avenging his son’s death.
- This Is What Happened (2018) – Twenty-six-year-old Maggie Barnes is someone you would never look at twice. Living alone in a month-to-month sublet in the huge city of London, with no family but an estranged sister, no boyfriend or partner, and not much in the way of friends, Maggie is just the kind of person who could vanish from the face of the earth without anyone taking notice. Or just the kind of person MI5 needs to infiltrate the establishment and thwart an international plot that puts all of Britain at risk. Now one young woman has the chance to be a hero-if she can think quickly enough to stay alive.
- The Secret Hours (2023) – Two years ago, a contentious Prime Minister initiated the Monochrome inquiry, tasking it with delving into “historical over-reaching” by the British Secret Service. This investigation granted Griselda Fleet and Malcolm Kyle, two civil servants assigned to the project, unrestricted access to confidential MI5 records. Yet, MI5’s formidable First Desk, a shrewd and skilled spymaster, skillfully thwarted the inquiry’s progress at every juncture. However, with a change in administration, Monochrome is now deemed a failure, leaving Griselda and Malcolm facing career stagnation. Their fortunes take an unexpected turn on the eve of Monochrome’s closure when a mysterious MI5 case file emerges.
- Dolphin Junction (2021) – Five standalone nerve-rackingly thrilling crime fiction stories are complemented by four mystery stories featuring the Oxford wife-and-husband detective team of shrewd Zoë Boehm and hapless Joe Silvermann. The collection also includes a peek into the past of Jackson Lamb, an irascible top agent at Slough House.