Set in the same universe as Digital Divide and Maker Space (and A Girl and Her Fed, which I have still not read), this novella offers a change of pace, eschewing the procedurals of the two Rachel Peng novels for the very sexy adventures of Josh Glassman, Deputy Director of the Office of Adaptive and Complementary Technologies, hunky cyborg media relations expert and self-declared man-whore.
Josh’s current crush is neighbor Davie Costello, into whose past and present Josh has been very careful not to snoop despite the fact his enhancements would make cyber-stalking her trivial. The meet-cute the reader knows has to be inevitable thanks to the fact all this is a flash-back in which Josh refers to Davie as his first wife comes in the form of a home invasion by a crew of heavily armed thugs. Since the bad guys have no idea that Davie lives next to an OACET cyborg or that Josh is armed with squirrel-filled underpants, matters do not progress according to their employers’ design.
Although condo rumor had Davie a ballet dancer, a teacher or maybe a doctor, what she really is is a financial adviser at Friction Commodities, specializing in mineral rights. I am sure if this was a novel, there’d be at least some faffing around about “what possible reason could anyone have for targeting a financial adviser” but this is a novella, Davie is an irreplaceable part of the Friction Commodities team and there is at least one solid suspect in the form of semi-legitimate Russian magnate Viktor Kumarin, whose company is competing with Friction Commodities over mineral rights in Afghanistan.
Of course, if it was that simple, this would be a short story and not a novella.
I feel like I should drop the phrase “Not Safe for Work” in here, earlier rather than later. One of the ways this differs from the Peng stories that it spends a lot more time on graphic sex scenes, although since Peng has a hard time getting past awkward first dates that probably does not properly convey the enthusiasm with which the protagonist leaps, penis first, into new and exciting relationships.
As the author points out elsewhere, only 4,000 words of this 36,000 word novella are devoted to Josh and “Teh Sexytimz”; there are 32,000 words about the investigation, financial shenanigans and, of course, the eternal war between Man and Squirrel.
Fictional sex romps generally are not my thing but this was an amusing1 change of pace from my usual fare. The Russians Came Knocking may be purchased in a variety of places; links here.
[Added later] Quoted with permission:
Future installments in the Amorous Adventures of Agent Glassman have been planned — ideally, there will be one for each woman he marries. (This number is high, but is less than the number of Dragaeran Great Houses. That said, I think Davie Costello would be an Orca.)
Note, however, that Spangler will not be writing further Glassman Glansery unless a) the number of sales of vol. 1 passes some certain threshold or b) her Patreon passes a different threshold.
— Danny Sichel
So buy those books!
1: I meant to have a warning about something and it needs to be well away from the NSFW section because it does not have anything to do with the sex: brief animal cruelty warning.