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4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5 stars

on 28 June 2016
The Jennifer Morgue is book two of the Laundry Files series by Charles Stross. In this second outing, Bob Howard finds himself dragged into the machinations and conspiracies of a Megalomaniac multi-billionaire, The Black Chamber and The Laundry...

Someone has a hard-on for certain fictional spy and world domination, and unfortunately for Bob, he's been cast in the role of the Hero British Agent. Can Bob survive the convoluted plot in which he has been dragged? Will he get the girl? Why the hell does he have cravings for a certain gin based beverage? Riffing on the Bond movie formula, The Jennifer Morgue takes all that is amazing and absurd from 007 and twists it into a pretzel that will keep you entertained for the entire ride.

This edition of The Jennifer Morgue also includes a bonus short story - Pimpf.
Pimpf is an entertaining tale of Computational Demonology, MMORPG's and Internal backstabbing. A fun read.

Also included in this edition - An essay by Charles Stross "The Golden Age Of Spying", where Charles Stross explores and examines the phenomena that has become the James Bond franchise. Stross has said that he watched and thoroughly flowcharted the first 16 Bond movies for research before writing The Jennifer Morgue. This essay was probably his way of getting it all out of his system once he was finished. It's a very interesting read that mixes humour and fact to broaden your understanding of Bond movies and Spy thrillers in general - from the point of view of the Spy heroes, The villains and the real world from which their creators have drawn inspiration.
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on 9 May 2017
Found the laundry files books a couple of years ago but wasn't sure if I would like them, after the first one I was hooked and quickly found others to read,. still 1 or 2 to read but i will carry on with them.
The Author has created some very believable characters and you could quite easily believe that there was a government department that exists like this, plenty of adventure and some comedy bits thrown in. Bob the main character is almost a victim of his own good luck and the stories are mostly told from his viewpoint which makes it easy to sympathise with him. Not strictly SF but an excellent read.
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on 10 June 2013
Stross picks his influences carefully, and then researches them in greater depth than you might imagine, for a novel in this genre. The consequences he imagines, and the relationships between classes of beings based on the mythos engendered by Lovecraft and his contemporaries, is explored (I won't say "in depth", because that would be in bad taste). His Agency is just the sort of slightly grubby, poorly run organisation one would expect in a secret Government department: poorly funded, over-beaureaucratic and interacting badly with similar agencies of other governments.

His characters are funny, endearing and wonderfully well-rounded. His technical knowledge is intimidating. All respect to Mr. Stross!

I love this series.
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on 20 July 2017
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VINE VOICEon 1 December 2007
Bob Howard, SysAdmin and Occult Ops. field operative for The Laundry, continues to have an interesting life. Here, his destiny is entangled with a demon, and he's charged with stopping a billionaire megalomaniac from awakening the Old Ones at the bottom of the ocean, and hastening the onset of CASE NIGHTMARE GREEN - and all without blowing his expense account. If you've read The Atrocity Archives, you'll know some of what I mean; if not, I haven't spoiled anything for you and you have some pleasantly diverting reading to do.

Stross's writing style is very accomodating without being patronisingly simple, and I read through this over the course of a few day's worth of train trips. Bob, his main character, has an amusing inner monologue which portrays the clear contempt Stross has for modern executive corporate work practises (and handily serves as a narrative since the book is basically a first-person account), and somewhat oddly this is also a book about how mathematics and physics are actually the basis of demonology (the "demons" in these books are actually extra-dimensional aliens, albeit highly dangerous ones who aren't always sentient). The plot begins to creak a bit once the major plot exposition is underway around the final third of the book, and although this strays into sci-fiction horror, it actually begins to become slightly ridiculous rather than engaging - slightly "schlock", if you ask me. I didn't like where the "James Bond" theme was going, and it kept going right up till the afterword.

The previous novel, The Atrocity Archives (actually a collection of related short stories), is the better bet here, in my opinion. The Jennifer Morgue isn't a bad book, and I enjoyed reading it - but the prequel is better, I think.
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VINE VOICEon 7 September 2007
The Jennifer Morgue is a direct sequel to The Atrocity Archives which I reviewed earlier this year (and loved).

When billionaire, Ellis Billington, tries to get his hands on a piece of forbidden technology that's been hidden in the depths of the sea for millenia by things with too many tentacles and not enough arms (aka aliens!), there's only one man good enough to stop him.

That man is Bond, James Bo... Erm, Howard, Bob Howard...

As usual with Stross, this book is packed with plenty of ideas. It's also much more laugh-out-loud funny than The Atrocity Archives.

"I'm going flat out at maybe a hundred and fifty kilometers per hour on the autobahn while some joker is shooting at me from behind with a cannon that fires Porsche's and Mercedes'."

There was perhaps, a bit too much info-dumping with regards to mathematical stuff and computer... stuff. Maths and computery-stuff are to me, what Marmite is to a jellyfish: meaningless, but avoidable. There wasn't too much though, and the story soon pulled off like an Aston Martin DB9 being chased by demon-possessed zombies...

The Jennifer Morgue didn't quite end right for me, though. The penultimate chapter concluded very satisfyingly, tying up loose ends and leaving a natural resolution to all the plotlines that Stross had (yet again!) woven into an excellent and richly developed story. I fully expected the story to end there. Instead, there was another chapter that seemed largely unrelated to the rest of the book and would have, I think, made a suitable opening chapter for another Laundry book. Nothing wrong with that particular chapter, just out of place.

Stross did though, escape the trap of filling the reader in too much on earlier events. Sure, there are lots of allusions to happenings in The Atrocity Archives, but I really think The Jennifer Morgue could be read as a stand-alone. That said, why would you want to miss out on any work of Charles Stross?! 8 out of 10.

For more fantasy/SF reviews, regular amazing competitions, and author interviews, visit: [...]
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon 12 January 2007
Yes, Bob Howard is back. Is it just coincidence that Stross's geeky hero ends up playing the Bond role (correctly, complete with baccarat rather than poker) at the same time as the film of the first Bond book appears? Probably not, there is surely a hidden hand behind all this and we should watch the stars with care.

Seriously, this is a rattling good read, like the previous one in the series (Atrocity Archives) (would some UK publisher PLEASE take notice?) -a skilful blend of horror, spy fiction and humour, crammed with in jokes, densely plotted and capable of being read and reread.

Oddly, Amazon (UK) couldn't get this for me - I had to go directly to the US site for it, after wasting several weeks waiting for them to obtain it. So if you want it (and you should) go to .com first not .co.uk
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on 12 November 2011
Like its predecessor, The Atrocity Archives, and its successor, The Fuller Memorandum, The Jennifer Morgue is hilarious. A brilliant play on the classic spy/James Bond mythos, it manages to both poke fun at this archetype and subvert it. Everyone has seen at least one Bond film and the debate over who is the true Bond is eternal--it's Sean Connery of course, no contest. But given the fact that everyone knows at least some Bond, this is a very accessible novel for readers new to speculative fiction. It also makes it easier to catch most of the pop culture references Stross scatters throughout his story.

Bob's sidekick in this novel, Ramona, was awesome. A combination of both the good and the bad Bond girl, she was the perfect partner in this adventure. Her chemistry with Bob was more than just caused by her glamour and their entanglement. I liked that the more Bob saw of the 'true' Ramona, the more he was attracted to her, instead of in lust with her. Again, this is such a cliché, both in books and films, but it works beautifully in this book to create tension between not just Bob and Ramona, but also between Bob and Mo, his partner. The latter tension is not just because of jealousy issues but also because we as the reader see how hard Mo is working to get to Bob, while Bob is slowly getting closer to Ramona, despite still wanting to be with Mo.

The bad guy was classic as well, and scarily current, what with #occupywallstreet and the growing distrust of the mega rich and large corporations. He even has a cat to stroke and a secret lair! His methods to world domination are pretty eerie and scary, but Stross' final proof that PowerPoint is an instrument of evil had me in stitches, because who hasn't fought with PowerPoint at some point when preparing a presentation? I know I have done so often enough. Oh and expensive, seemingly miraculous beauty products? Don't even try them!

The cast surrounding Bob remains brilliant. Mo, Pinky, Brains, Bob's boss Angleton, they all make repeat appearances and are as wonderful as ever. And some of the minor characters from the first book also return, in this group I especially enjoyed Captain Barnes, though he only enters the book in the last third, and Boris, who leads Bob's support team on the Antilles. I adored the scenes were Pinky, Brains and Boris briefed Bob. They sort of reminded me of The X-Files' Lone Gunmen. Pinky and Brains cracked me up almost every time they showed up on the page, but they also managed to move me with their - sometimes clumsy - attempts to be good friends to Bob.

The twist at the end was classic. I really enjoyed the denouement of the novel and was sad to see the story end. That would be my one complaint with The Laundry books, they're too short, I rip through them way too fast! But luckily, The Jennifer Morgue was followed by a short story called Pimpf, which was a nice cherry on top of the cake. It was very funny and for anyone who's ever played a multiplayer game very recognizable! I loved Bob's reaction to having an intern and the story made for a nice goodbye from the Laundry world for now.

Happily this goodbye will not last for long, as the fourth Laundry book, The Apocalypse Codex, is supposed to come out in July 2012, huzzah! So I recommend you take the next six months to catch up with all the Laundry Files and be ready to jump in with the next book come July. One thing is for sure, you'll have a laugh doing so!
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on 19 April 2011
This was very enjoyable. Immensely silly, but in a good way.

This is a pretty amusing novel and there were moments when it seemed slightly obvious and maybe a little ridiculous but despite that it is very cleverly constructed.

The actions scenes were surprisingly impressive and the whole background of his laundry series of books is very well done. Angleton is a great character.

At times I thought that maybe it was a smidgen too long and conversely, that the ending was a trifle rushed. Despite these minor quibbles I thoroughly enjoyed this book.

He is a very entertaining writer and I thought that this was just as inventive as the atrocity archives but was significantly better written.

The afterword was very interesting and thoughtful.
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on 5 January 2011
It is a fantastic read, I really didn't want to put it down, even though family life wouldn't let me read it all in one sitting.

Avoiding spoilers the book is very readable and set in a sort of modern day techno-magic spy thriller parody. The premise is that magic is just applied mathematics and there is a very low budget Government cover up, the British civil service meets Delta Green. Having been an official computer geek in the British civil service I can relate to some of this very well, which makes the humour very close to home, in a Dilbertesque sort of way. Other parts of the writing remind me of some of the earlier Pratchett works where he was parodying the fantasy genre. The Jennifer Morgue is an extended James Bond parody/homage as part of the plot. Very cleverly done. It also has a fair nod towards geek culture and the world of computer gaming.
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