Supernatural agent “Coop” Cooper returns in an overstuffed, hyperkinetic sequel to The Everything Box (2016).
To recap, inveterate thief Coop is a fast-talking criminal making his way through a supernatural substratum of society. Last time around, he saved the world and has now reluctantly been seconded to the Department of Peculiar Science, a Los Angeles–based task force that deals with all things spooky. “I don’t want a desk,” Coop protests. “I’m a crook. Crooks don’t have desks. We have tools and cars and six ways out of town.” The gang’s all here, including Coop’s partner in crime Morty Ramsey, fellow agents Bayliss and Giselle, and a new addition: Dr. Lupinsky, an Egyptologist who got mixed up in some bad juju and is now a half-cat, half cybernetic octopus, as happens sometimes. There’s not much to the plot, carried along as it is by Kadrey’s manic dialogue, phantasmagorical imagery, and the occasional dirty joke, but it’s plenty for fans of this strain of comic horror. Coop’s boss, Woolrich, orders his team on a new mission: “A simple theft. A local museum has a mummy on display. We’d like to have it instead of them.” What sounds like a simple heist quickly becomes mortal danger when they accidentally awaken Harkhuf, an evil mummy imbued with dark magic, which is totally the worst kind of magic, apparently. Harkhuf seeks a powerful amulet and an ancient book to resurrect his queen, Shemetet. (Yes, this is pretty much the plot of the Brendan Fraser movie; it’s a book that name-checks Bubba Ho-Tep, so just go with it.) Other figures in this cavalcade include an undead mailroom manager plotting revenge; a car salesman given to dressing like the Electric Cowboy; and a cop named Jim Rockford, no less. Readers who appreciate restraint may find this cartoonish adventure overwhelming, but those who want a Quentin Tarantino joint crafted with the juvenile humor of Christopher Moore will find themselves in good company.
A goofy, flamboyant, and breathless horror adventure by one of the genre’s sharpest creators.