I enjoyed Bernheimer’s other books so much, I turned around and bought this one (which may be the first sign of serious book addiction). If you missed it, you can catch my reviews of Prime Suspects (a clone scifi thriller) and Horror, Humor, and Heroes (an anthology of Bernheimer’s short fiction).
In Confessions of a D-List Supervillain, Mechani-Cal (or just Cal) is a beat up down and out supervillain in a beat up mechanical suit. The world has gone buggy, literally. Someone’s science project escaped the test tube and these bugs can now attach themselves to humans and make them part of the world hive. Cal has been living in his mech suit for far too many weeks avoiding being assimilated. the story opens with a quick, dirty fight between Cal and some of the Olympians, guardians of the East coast. He manages to knock a bug off Aphrodite (Stacey) and flies off with her to his secret hideaway dump. Alas, it is a trap. Luckily Cal has an exit strategy and perseverance. After all, he needs allies to rid the world of the mind-control bugs.
This book was a highly entertaining messed up ride. Cal is such the anti-hero and yet not such a bad guy. He’s not afraid to do the tough deeds that need doing, as he sees it. He doesn’t shy away from a task just because society might frown on his resolution to the problem. Constantly doubting the good will of those around him (and usually with good reason), it is almost always Cal against the world. Couple that with his geek tinkering skills of creating mech suits, robots, body armor, and weapons and you have a supervillain who mostly just wants to be left alone. Alas, the world won’t let him curl up in his little cave of anger.
Most of the good guys have nothing but disdain for Cal, even after he saves their asses. But that’s OK because they have silly names, like the Bugler. Yep. The Bugler. This book has me chuckling out loud at the casual way these superhero (and supervillain) names would be tossed into the narrative. Anemone, Hermes, Komodo, etc.
The plot itself is really a series of smaller plots, one flowing into another. Kind of like a series of comics. One emergency ends just in time for another to develop, often popping up in just the right time and place to bite Cal in the ass. Poor dude. His love life is also complicated and I liked that it was all messy and not some cookie-cutter romance. Granted, all the women are hotties and only half the men are.
Bernheimer isn’t afraid to kill characters off and I especially like this. Real life has consequences, and when I read my fiction I like to see that reflected. No, I didn’t cry over any of the deaths and while Cal catches some flak for his actions, I totally cheered him on. In short, this was quite the fun listen, a great escape from average superhero tales. This tale reminded me of James Maxey‘s Nobody Gets the Girl and the webisode silliness known as Dr. Horrible, both of which I am quite fond of.