Hugo Award-winning author Charles Stross continues to make a name for himself in the sci-fi genre. The Jennifer Morgue is an extension of Stross’ award-winning novella The Concrete Jungle.
Bob Howard is a special operative for the British agency called The Laundry, and his task is to stop a rogue billionaire from using an artifact, known as Gravedust, with the power to reanimate the dead. The U.S. Black Agency sends the lethal Ramona Random to aid Bob’s mission, but she seems to have a different agenda.
©2006 Charles Strauss (P)2009 Recorded Books, LLC
"[A]lternately chilling and hilarious....It's up to Bob and a collection of British eccentrics even Monty Python would consider odd to stop the bad guy and save the world, while getting receipts for all expenditures or else face the most dreaded menace of all: the Laundry's own auditors. Stross has a marvelous time making eldritch horror appear commonplace in the face of bureaucracy." (Publishers Weekly)
The demon dimensions exist. Scary things from your nightmares are real. And Bob Howard- a computer geek - works for the Laundry. An MI-6/MI-5 type agency with all the bureaucratic ISO nightmares, created to control the demons and other horrible things that no one else believes really exist.
In 1975, the CIA used Howard Hughes's Glomar Explorer in a bungled attempt to raise a sunken Soviet submarine in order to access the Jennifer Morgue, an occult device that allows communication with the dead. Now a ruthless billionaire intends to try again, even if by doing so he awakens the Great Old Ones, who thwarted the earlier expedition. It's up to Bob to stop the bad guy and save the world, while getting receipts for all expenditures or else face the most dreaded menace of all: the Laundry's own auditors.
This third in the Laundry series move Bob along in his life, his relationship with his significant other- Mo, his next ina series of matrix management bosses, his father-son relationship with his true mentor in an entertaining story that makes Bob into the James Bond-like damsel in distress.
The snark factor has gone down as the Laundry series has continued. And we know that while Charles Stross has a problem with religion. What he really, really, really hates is American-style, pro-life, evangelical Christianity. However, you can get past this bias and just enjoy the story.
The reader, Gideon Emery, was perfect for this book, and the material was a fascinating blend of Lovecraftian tropes, computer technical geekery, and the application of over-the-top spycraft.
And damn it if the interpersonal relationships didn't have extraordinarily satisfying arcs! Stross's characters have really begun to feel like real people in the best possible way.
This has me slavering to hear the previous Laundry book, also read by Emery. I hope you've got Emery already producing the Fuller Memorandum, now that I'm on the topic, because if you can't tell, I think Stross, the Laundry books, and Emergy are a winning combo.
Once I got used to the accent it turned out to be a really fun listen. Lots of twists and turns. Wish I had listened to Book 1 first. Have ordered Book 1 to listen to better late than never. The characters are very richly portrayed by the narration. Easy to pick up where you left off and get absorbed in the book each time you start listening.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book and would highly recommend to any sci-fi enthusiast.
Charles Stross' dry geek humour makes the book feel like a conversation with my friends.
Bob Howard is the perfect hero - flawed, honest and dealing with all situations in dry humour.
The narrator manages to insert the story directly into the listener's mind without intruding on the narrative.
I almost fell off the treadmill laughing at several points, and chuckled through most of the story.
1 Star -- Terrible 2 Stars -- Bad 3 Stars -- Mediocre 4 Stars -- Great to the right person. 5 Stars -- Superb, you must pick this up.
Lighter on the satire, heavier on the adventure, still a fun ride.
If you read the first book in this series, then honestly this book is probably better written than that one. That said, I liked the first one more. However, in terms of a Did-I-Enjoy-This-Book scale, it remains equal. The Atrocity Archives and The Jennifer Morgue are just two different books. Where the first book was a satire of office culture and adventure mystery novels with a Lovecraftian spin, this one purposely plays a dashing British Spy story straight with the formula, but all the while it taps its nose and winks at you. So yeah, there is still satire here, but it is more of a clever adventure novel that plays with the tried and true stereotypes and cliches.
As for this book more specifically, Bob is back! I was actually afraid each book would have a different character, which would made me sad. But he is back and remains the main character. Also back are Pinky and Brains with a more active role. They are hilarious, Q eat your heart out. New to this book is a drop dead gorgeous mysterious woman and a maniacal bad guy. You'll like them, I promise.
Given the archetype this book is spoofing, you can count on a lot more scenes of poor Bob having to wing it MacGyver style (with tentacles). When he isn't doing this, he is usually being screwed over by whatever heinous and unmentionable events he's been railroaded into. I mean, he is just some poor cubical rat that gets sent out on dangerous missions occasionally.
So while this book has less, or maybe just more subtle, satire and fewer Eldritch horrors, it is a great example of what someone with a creative mind can do with a novel. I recommend it to anyone who liked the first book, and I for one plan on starting the third book before long - maybe tomorrow.
I really need to start proof reading my Reviews before I post them.
I listened to this series out of sequence and I cannot remember the individual story lines now after a few months have passed. But I did love the series.
just because i started writing this review I want to finish it but … i just want to remember if this book was the one of with the killer mermaid and james bond machines or the one with the killer violin or the one where the ice giants carved hitlers face into the moon.
Any ways... buy the book, listen to it, and then go buy all the other Atrocity Archive/Laundry File books there are... cause they are quite awesome.
While the afterword might explain why the story was written, it did not make me enjoy it more. A parade of Bond clichés in a Laundry exterior, not my cup of tea. The short story at the end also failed to engage me. The entire book seemed like characters from the first book in stories about someone else.
Well performed, which at some level made the listening enjoyable despite the poor fit with my preferences.
Can easily be skipped.
The combination of old school geek, supernatural action, and classic spy thriller.
It added some depth to the world of the laundry in a fun action filled story.
His gritty, almost noir delivery is not how I would have imagined these books being read at all, but I think it adds to the classic spy thriller aspect of the stories.
The second short story was a bit silly and anticlimactic. I wish it had come first so it wouldn't have taken me out of the afterglow of the main story.
I like this series a great deal. So much so that I have gone out of my way to use actual money and not credits to buy them. If HP. Lovecraft and Anonymous had a lovechild produced, this series would be it. If you are a geek, get this book.
Entertaining second book in the solid, sarcastic, satirical series (of espionage meets the occult). The intertwining, quite literally, of the James Bond pastiche with the techno-Eldritch-comedic-thriller works really well and keeps the plot amusing and moving. Looking forward to continuing the series whenever I need a funny and not-too-serious pick-me-up.
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