I am currently reading my way through a long list of science fiction and fantasy titles. (http://www.npr.org/2011/08/07/138938145/science-fiction-and-fantasy-finalists if you are interested in the list).
Slough House is a dumping ground for British intelligence agents who’ve screwed up a case in any number of ways—by leaving a secret file on a train or blowing a surveillance. River Cartwright, one such “slow horse,” is bitter about his failure and about his tedious assignment transcribing cell phone conversations.
When a young man is abducted and his kidnappers threaten to broadcast his beheading live on the Internet, River sees an opportunity to redeem himself.
Is the victim who he first appears to be? And what’s the kidnappers’ connection with a disgraced journalist? As the clock ticks on the execution, River finds that everyone has his own agenda.
This was an excellent "it's too hot to think too hard" summer book. If you are into spy fiction, you will probably enjoy this novel.
The slow horses are the intelligence agents who have screwed up big time and have been exiled to Slough House to grind away at boring statistical tasks until they quit or die.
When River Cartwright gets a small surveillance task to perform, he actually starts paying attention to the currents flowing around him and notices a lot of details that start knitting together into a somewhat coherent whole. What he does with this information and deciding who to trust turns this into a page-turner.
No international espionage, but plenty of "this branch against that branch" sort of conflict.
Perfect for light summer reading.