I’ve recently been asked a couple of times for authors I would recommend to read after folks have finished all the Slough House novels and novellas. My first suggestion would be to make sure you’ve read some of Herron’s other novels, like Down Cemetery Road, Reconstruction, Nobody Walks and even This is What Happened. If you are into Herron for the spies, all have spy adjacent plots.
Beyond Herron, when thinking about how to break down his Slough House novels, for me it comes down to three elements – the type of Spies, the type of Humor, and the type of Writing. It’s hard to find books with all three, although I do have a couple, my list below is of books that have at least two of the three elements.
Intelligence by Susan Hasler – Hasler’s book is a great “office” dynamic look at the CIA with plenty of sharp humor.
Ross Thomas – His political/spy adjacent novels like The Fools in Town are on my Side, The Money Harvest, The Seersucker Whipsaw, The Eight Dwarf, and If You Can’t be Good are all great.
Lawerence Block – His Evan Tanner series takes on a specifically spyish bent starting with the second novel, albeit a bit more broad, and his The Burglar series is a really fun mystery series.
Transcription by Kate Atkinson – It’s a spy novel with wonderful writing and gets you in her character’s heads in a way that Herron also manages.
All the Old Knives by Olen Steinhauer – This book is a twisty spy thriller that I could see fans of Herron quite enjoying.
East of Hounslow series by Khurram Rahman – Rahman has created a total fun original character in his narrator and you’ll enjoy following him in the spy exploits he accidentally falls into.
The 87th Precinct series by Ed McBain – Herron recently said he could see himself writing Slough House books for the rest of his life and no one created a rotating cast of characters over a period of decades like McBain in his legendary series following one particular police precinct.
Charlie Muffin by Brian Freemantle – The first couple of Muffin books are wonderful, Muffin could be Jackson Lamb’s grandfather and they also are great at offering some of the twists and turns that Herron loves. I’d skip the 3rd, 4th and 5th as they are just so-so, but with the 6th he comes back strong and has a very nice run of stories.
Agent Running in the Field by John le Carré – I’d say le Carré’s last novel is also his lightest and most fun. The first person point of view gives him a chance to bring his sense of humor to the forefront and his method of mixing politics and spies serves him well in his last novel.
That’s my list. Please comment below with who you think should be added to the list!