January 23, 2012

Review: The Jennifer Morgue, by Charles Stross

Author: Charles Stross
Title: The Jennifer Morgue
Series: Laundry Files (#2)
ISBN: 9780441016716
Publisher: Ace Trade(2009) (Golden Gryphon Press 2006 1st ed)

Buy your copy: Kindle | Paperback | Hardcover

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Bob Howard, geekish demonology hacker extraordinaire for "The Laundry," must stop ruthless billionaire Ellis Billington from unleashing an eldritch horror, codenamed "Jennifer Morgue," from the ocean's depths for the purpose of ruling the world... GoodReads’ blurb

This is the follow-up novel to The Atrocity Archives (you can read my review for that one here) and, while reading book one is not integral to the plotline, it is important to understand the characters and, more than anything else, the world we’re reading about.

Well, and because it’s one hell of a good book and I don’t know why you’d want to skip it.

But less talking about Laundry Files #1 and more discussing #2, The Jennifer Morgue.

It was brilliant. Absolutely brilliant.

The Atrocity Archives was original and funny, in an ironic, sarcastic, keep a smile in my lips kind of way. The Jennifer Morgue has scenes that actually made me laugh out loud to the point of near tears. Mostly those involving Bob getting his own superspy car... and it being a Smart For Two.

That said, this time around the plot still involved our super-computer magic as a basis for the conflict, but it was wrapped as a James Bond novel. No, really. The only way to defeat the villain is to fit into an archetype from a James Bond novel (and no, I’m not spoiling it too much by saying that because we’re told about it... But I can’t say anything else on the topic, except that it cracked me up).

So, the stakes are, once more, world-shaking high. Our friendly IT geek needs to step into the shoes of glamorous, hot and sexy James Bond. And he’s been... acquainted with a spy from a rival/friendly agency that’s not half as harmless as she looks. Not even half as human, as a matter of fact.

The best part? Everyone knows what’s going to happen, because of the archetype thingy, except him. And no one can tell him, or the loophole around the plot won’t work and the bad guy will win.

If you think there’s nothing to compound that situation... add in Bob steady girlfriend, worried about him and fed up with the Laundry pulling his strings. Yes, Bond-wannabe does have a girlfriend... one who’s willing to go looking for him to the other side of the world... and one he really doesn’t want to have to explain his situation with the inhuman, super-hot rival spy to.

All of this put together, read by voice actor Gideon Emery, made for a perfect book that kept my iPod on till nearly five in the morning.

I mean it.

And this time there was another novella/short story included at the end! As it happened on The Atrocity Archives, the scale is much smaller, and Bob even stays in his office, but... As it happened with the Atrocity Archives, The Jennifer Morgue’s story was almost better than the great novel itself.

If you are a gamer, if you’ve ever heard of or played Neverwinter Nights... Then you MUST read this.

Yes, with capitals. As in, I mean it.

You’ll thank me when you do, I just know it!


  1. This is my first time seeing this book. It looks like my sort of read. Great review!

    1. I wouldn't have found the series if I hadn't been looking for books narrated by Gideon Emery so... Yes, it keeps a low-pro. Still, definitely enjoyable! ;)