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Publisher's Summary

The Laundry Files' "fast-paced blend of espionage thrills, mundane office comedy and Lovecraftian horror" (SFX) continues as Hugo Award-winning author Charles Stross assigns a day trader to a permanent position on the night shift....

After stumbling upon the algorithm that turned him and his fellow merchant bankers into vampires, Alex Schwartz was drafted by The Laundry, Britain's secret counter-occult agency that's humanity's first line of defense against the forces of darkness. Dependent on his new employers for his continued existence - as Alex has no stomach for predatory bloodsucking - he has little choice but to accept his new role as an operative in training.

Dispatched to Leeds, Alex's first assignment is to help assess the costs of renovating a 1950s Cold War bunker into The Laundry's new headquarters. Unfortunately Leeds is Alex's hometown, and the thought of breaking the news to his parents that he's left banking for civil service, while hiding his undead condition, is causing more anxiety than learning how to live as a vampire secret agent preparing to confront multiple apocalypses.

Alex's only saving grace is Cassie Brewer, a drama student appearing in the local Goth Festival who is inexplicably attracted to him despite his awkward personality and massive amounts of sunblock.

But Cassie has secrets of her own - secrets that make Alex's nightlife behaviors seem positively normal....

©2016 Charles Stross (P)2016 Recorded Books

What listeners say about The Nightmare Stacks

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Thrilling and completely engrossing!

I think this is the best book in the series thus far, and that is saying something because every entry in the epic series is exceptional.

The performance is quite simply, brilliant.

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Your worst nightmare come true

It’s what we’ve always feared would happen in the Laundry series, and it’s very, very scary. Sadly, it was a logical progression in the series, and only worse news must lie ahead. No Bob Howard in this one, but still elegantly plotted and performed. #Audible1

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  • Michael
  • 2016-06-30

Back on Track!

If you could sum up The Nightmare Stacks in three words, what would they be?

Action-packed, hilarious, and just plain fun. After the (not unenjoyable, just different) detour that was The Annihilation Score, Stross has come back to what makes this series so enjoyable. Alex really comes into his own in this novel after the introduction he had in The Rhesus Chart, and though you might think coming into this that you will be lamenting Bob's absence in this and the previous book, that is not the case at all.

What other book might you compare The Nightmare Stacks to and why?

This is a tough question, as I know there are several candidates floating around my head, I just can't put a name to them right now save for books I've read recently. Certain books of the Dresden series come to mind, because of how the endgame of the novel plays out. In that regard this book is also similar to the first entry in Stephen Moss' Fear saga.

Have you listened to any of Gideon Emery’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

Emery has narrated most of the books in the series, with the exception of The Annihilation Score which has Mo as the viewpoint character. He's back to do Alex, and does an outstanding job. Like there was ever any doubt.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

Stross has a penchant for expertly blending geek humour and sardonic irony with this series, and that's back in full force as Alex is basically a younger version of Bob in this novel (and the inherent stereotypes of his character are exploited mercilessly with hilarious results on more than one occasion). I should also mention that, as with the previous entry, the CASE NIGHTMARE scenario takes center stage (with a twist) which Stross unravels marvelously.

Any additional comments?

I hesitate to call this a return to form, as there was nothing really wrong with the previous novel, it just wasn't what I was expecting. For all intents and purposes, this book mirrors the earlier entries in the series, and is a joy to experience.

5 people found this helpful

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  • Larry
  • 2016-07-03

Most action packed Laundry File yet

I have to admit from the git-go that The Laundry Files series by Mr Stross is one of my top 5 series I have been following the past 5 yrs. I relisten to various books in the series often and am always amused at the absurdness of the bureaucracy that our intrepid hero, Bob Howard, has to deal with. In short, I am a big fan of Bob. Having said that, Bob is barely even mentioned in The Nightmare Stacks, the 7th novel of the series so I was inclined to dislike The Nightmare Stacks before I had downloaded it. But the series is so unique and the author so skilled at his craft that I still pre-ordered it.

The Nightmare Stacks’ protagonist is Alex Schwartz, a likable character we first meet in book 5 of the series, The Rhesus Chart. He is a “victim” of PHANG syndrome and still trying to wrap his morals around being a PHANG (not PC to use the “V” word) and struggling with how to break the news to his parents that he left his high paying job as an analyst at a bank for a civil service job. Meanwhile, series-wise, events have been rushing to bring Case Nightmare Green ever closer (as evidenced in book 6 of the series, The Annihilation Score). Well, in this book, Alex, a newbie to the magical world, is smack dab in the middle of another Case Nightmare scenario coming to a head before a shocked Britain. And that’s all for the synopsis because any more involves spoilers…

So, did I enjoy the book without Bob? Surprisingly, YES! This was a much better book than book 6 because the characters were more likable (to me, at least). We do not get to deal with the Dilbert-esque bureaucracy hell that gets so many chuckles from me usually, but Mr Stross makes up for it with action and mayhem. I do have some criticisms of the book:

1. The ending was wwwaaayyy too abrupt. Should have had a 10min epilogue to tie things up…
2. No Bob at all. He was mentioned in the second half of the book to be in Japan. That’s it.
3. No Mahogany Row action. As the series has progressed, we have been allowed to peek behind the curtains more and more to see the invisible hands guiding the Laundry. That is lacking here, even though we have a situation that drastically alters Britain, if not the world…
4. No “superpowered” players. As introduced in book 6, “superpowered” are now in the public eye. However, in this situation, not even one makes an appearance.

These criticisms are from a huge fan of the series. If you have read/listened to the series and are not an avid fan of the Laundry, then the above points may not be an issue for you.

Gideon Emery’s performance as narrator was stellar as always. If you need a British narrator/performer of your projected-to-be NYTimes bestseller, Mr Emery is your man: distinct male/female voices, nuanced performances portraying emotion and feelings combined with a master’s sense of timing and cadence, and skill at delivering that unique British sense of humor that I, as an American, will always love but never quite understand.

If you are a fan of the Laundry Files, you will enjoy The Nightmare Stacks. Action and tension are the hallmarks of this latest installment and it further advances the Case Nightmare plotline dramatically. Just don’t be expecting Bob to be making an appearance.
Story (plot) :4
Performance. :5
Production Quality :3
Attention Holding. :4

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  • CheezIsGood
  • 2016-07-02

Masterful

This is an excellent addition to the Laundry Files. I was bummed at first that Bob wasn't back in the picture yet, but Stross transformed a character I wasn't too fond of, into a hero. Bravo.

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  • Dr. WyoPaul
  • 2016-07-01

A Laundry Story without Bob and Mo? Still Great

Over the Laundry series I have become a big fan of Bob and Mo. They are not in this book. I almost did not buy it. But it turns out that Alex socially inept Phang geek is a compelling character, and pulled, nay pushed, the story along at high speed. Watch for other fun characters to play a big role.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Jeremiah Mccoy
  • 2017-04-18

Good return to form for the series

This is a fun story with the deeply geeky references throughout. This has Tom Clancy like elements mixed in to things, much like previous books that had Bond elements or other spy/thriller send ups. Good times.

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  • Jamie H. Aven
  • 2017-02-26

Fun Read!

More monsters and mayhem from Charles Stross. The ending was a bit abrupt, so maybe the story will continue in the next volume?

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  • Barbara
  • 2017-02-02

Wow!

Stross books build gradually, but watch out! You'll have to tear yourself away from it try and convince yourself to sleep some each night before you're even halfway through!

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  • Kindle Customer
  • 2016-09-29

Most Excellent

Charles Stross continues to be one of my favourite authors with a great new Laundry Files entry.

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  • Ragnorak5215
  • 2016-09-19

Another foray into occult officialdom

I had my doubts that the Laundry Files could maintain it's quality and momentum with out the character of Bob Howard (a doubt fed by the just okay previous novel in the series).
I was wrong. The sly humor is still there. The grand otherworldly threats still threaten. Entertaining.
Wonderfully narrated by Mr. Emery.

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  • Eugene Ngumi
  • 2016-08-31

Brilliant

Fun, funny and action packed. Mr stress outdid himself in the nightmare stacks and as ever brilliantly narrated my Gordon Emery

1 person found this helpful