The Jennifer Morgue is the second in Charles Stross’s Laundry Files series, where espionage, the joy of the civil service and Cthulhu-adjacent occult matters all meet. In this case our hero Bob Howard is tasked with going into the field (the Caribbean, what a shame) to deal with a demon hell-bent in taking over the world through a suitably megalomaniac billionaire, and to do so is paired with a rather lovely partner who is not all she seems (OK, she’s an assassin under a glamour and possessed by a sex-vampire, but nobody’s perfect)
Why did I want thread it?
I love the Laundry Files and re-read the first volume (The Atrocity Archives, reviewed here) earlier this year. I am planning to work my way through the whole series.
What did I think of it?
I must admit I wasn’t sure what to make of this at first because it seemed very much a parody of the classic James Bond movies – location, gadgets, bad guy intent on sharing his details plans with the hero rather than just killing him, gorgeous good girl sidekick, gorgeous bad girl sidekick, super villain lair and so on – which all seemed a bit weird until it becomes clear that the James Bond thing is actually the whole point – it’s the occult construction that the baddies are using to control the whole thing and prevent themselves from being stopped. Though of course it doesn’t work out that way…
As always the fun here is in the combination of occult weirdness with classic civil service bureaucracy and infighting which is oh so recognisable to anyone who has ever worked in that world, though normally you’re not likely to get possessed with something tentacular. Not normally.
This was very enjoyable and raced along. It is also very funny in places and for anyone of my age who grew up with Dr No and Blofeld the Bond references are particularly enjoyable, right down to the white cat. And the nasties are very nasty indeed. There’s also a nice little additional story as a bonus.
Loved it, and looking forward to reading the next one.
This was my fifth read for RIP IX.