Charles Stross – I like his space opera, I like his near future police procedurals but I think I like his Laundry series the best. And the latest in the series, ‘The Apocalypse Codex’, doesn’t disappoint.

Bob Howard is a computational demonologist – a profession you don’t have a choice about entering. If you stumble across some extra dimensional threat to the world and survive, you will likely be recruited for the Laundry, an ultra secretive government agency. Which deals with the most outlandish occult threats imaginable, whilst still enveloped in the nightmare of bureaucracy that government departments require, particularly expense claims. And it’s not clear which is worse …

The premise of the Laundry series is pitch black, the end times are near when the barriers between dimensions will dissolve and all sorts of nasties unleashed on our world. Our last, best hope is the Laundry.

But we’ve not reached CASE NIGHTMARE GREEN yet and in the ‘Apocalypse Codex’ Bob is asked to monitor the activities of an American evangelist, who is planning to bring about the return of what he thinks as Jesus Christ – in reality it’s a demon big bad. Which would be very bad for everyone yet standing between the demon and the planet are just Bob and two freelancesrs – vaguely titled ‘external assets’ although the Laundry doesn’t do external. And as a distracting sub-plot, Bob knows he’s also on the fast track to Laundry management

As with the other  books ‘The Apocalypse Codex’ is a pacy, spy thriller in which some very bad supernatural things indeed happen. Despite the  imminent sense of doom pervading the book, in fact the series, there’s a vein of black humour running throughout not least the comedy value of such an organisation being hidebound by bureaucracy.

I would heartily recommend the Laundry books to anyone but I’d suggest that you start at the beginning as the mythology in the books is starting to pile up.

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