This is the fourth and very newly released Laundry novel. Unlike The Fuller Memorandum, Amazon Japan had it available pretty much as soon as it was published in the US. Normally I’d have re-read the series before going into this one but as those reading my book blogging know I’ve already re-read the sequence this year.

This time, Bob is up against a US televangelist. As with Fuller Memorandum, this deviates from first-person storytelling. This time, even more so. I remember Charlie struggling with how to tell the story he wanted to tell within the constraint of a first person “memoir” narrative but where the narrator in question is being moved into a management role and therefore lacking direct experience. The end point of this conundrum is deftly handled, but I’ll leave you to find out how he deals with it yourself.

This is, as usual, a well-written piece and a worthy addition to the Laundry Files. It is, though, not as scary as The Fuller Memorandum. I had to think hard to work out why. I think the problem is that both the bad guy and the “reveal” in TFM twist things around a lot and in particular the identity of the bad guy works well with the Buffy Principle (real life is scarier than monsters). This time the bad guy is a US televanglist. These guys are horrible, creepy and scary to begin with, so I at least am already inured to the horror of their actions.

Not that this isn’t scary, but it’s a different sort of scary. As CASE NIGHTMARE GREEN approaches, Bob’s scary life is getting scarier, including the fact that he’s not in control any more. Well, he is in control, but in the same way that a navigator in a rally car is in control, rather than the way a driver is in control. Now he’s got to set tactics and policy and wait for the results.

Interestingly, as I blogged about before, there are some interesting parallels with the Simon Canderous series, that come through even more so when the reality behind Mahogany Row is revealed. Not that I think either author is cribbing from the other – they’re just writing from a similar playbook style, I think.

If you haven’t read the Laundry, and aren’t totally freaked by Lovecraftian horrors (written into algorithmic science fiction) then what are you waiting for?