Monthly Archives: July 2017

“Parade of Fools” – Part 1

Fight Crime! BannerFirst time reading? Start at the beginning here.

The old family lake house was becoming quite the hot scene. The dusty sheets had been taken off the furniture, the refrigerator restocked, and people came and went at all hours. Blueblood, of course, didn’t tell Val who half these people were. He’d taken over the house like a king visiting a noble’s estate, claiming the master bedroom for himself and letting his men make a complete mess of the place. Val wasn’t in a position to stop them anymore, so she watched and brooded and spent a lot of time reading minds. Only the minds of Blueblood’s men, that is. Blueblood himself had mental shields as strong as she’d feared, and her attempts to subtly break in came to nothing.

“I’ll kill him,” Joey had said when he’d seen her blackened, infected hand. “I’ll beat him until he fixes it.”

Val had to grab his arm to stop him. “Not a good idea to hit someone whose touch can kill you.”

“I’ll wear gloves. I’ll use knives and hot irons. Give me half an hour alone in a room with him, and I swear—”

“No,” she’d said firmly. “We play along with him for now.”

So here she was in the dining room, playing along as Blueblood introduced his latest guest. Continue reading

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New Superhero Fiction Releases for June and July

Here are some superhero fiction books released in the last month or so that caught my eye in the Amazon jungle. I recommend checking out the samples and reviews before buying, as I haven’t read all of them—yet.

Covenant: A Superteam Novel (WHOOSH! BAM! POW! Book 3)

by James Maxey

Covenant Book Cover

Sarah Buchanan lives a quiet, small town life, hiding one dangerous secret. She’s the world-famous superhero known as Skyrider, leader of the government-sanctioned superteam the Covenant. Not even her husband knows about her dual life.

When a legion of superpowered dervishes declare war on America, the Covenant must work around the clock to track down the mastermind behind them. With Sarah spending less and less time at home, and her excuses running thin on why she keeps showing up covered with bruises, the strain on her marriage reaches a breaking point. She wants nothing more than to quit being Skyrider and return to ordinary life, but when ghosts from her past threaten the world she faces the ultimate test: Can she save the world and still save her marriage?

Amazon

Silent Nights (Lady Superior, Book 3)

by Alex Ziebart

Silent Nights Cover

Lady Superior is down for the count. Vane, her archer companion, is on the hunt for revenge. Among the chaos, unlikely allies step up to help him bring down the man who tried to put her in the ground.

While Lady Superior recovers from the blast, she takes hard lessons to heart. The Ladykiller took a swing and missed. She won’t make the same mistakes twice.

Amazon

The Powers That Flee

by Brian Clopper

The Powers That Flee Cover

It’s October 1985, and sixteen-year-old comic book nerd Darin Forrester is given a special arcade token by a cute but mysterious girl. He soon finds himself granted super powers with a catch—they don’t stick around. With a revolving door of abilities, Darin must fight off a deranged villain on a power grab himself.

Brian Clopper delivers a sincere trip back to the 1980s where hair was big, music videos reigned supreme, comic book reading was resigned to social outcasts, and young science fiction geeks traveled at warp speed to track down the newest issue of Starlog.

Amazon

Strike: The Plague of Stars (The STRIKE Series, Book 4)

by Charlie Wood

Strike Cover

It has been three years since Tobin Lloyd saved the world from the super-powered madman Rigel—and three years since he has seen his friends Orion, Keplar, and Scatterbolt from the world of Capricious. Unable to travel to the world of superheroes, he has adjusted to his normal life, and begun his senior year of college at Pinewood University in New Hampshire.

However, a mysterious traveler has arrived—somehow, some way—from the world of Capricious. This traveler has a message for Tobin: he must return to Capricious. The world—and his friends—are in grave danger, and he is the only one who can save them.

Amazon

Crimson Son 2: Motherland (Crimson Son Universe)

by Russ Linton

Mother Land Cover

All Spencer really wanted was a normal life. College. A job. Maybe a research fellowship which culminated in freeing his mother from the psychic snow globe where he last saw her…

Then again, “normal” might be too much for the powerless son of the world’s most dangerous Augment to ask for.

Spencer is soon sucked back into his father’s world of weaponized superhumans. Augments long forgotten have emerged from their former prison with their powers amplified. While Spencer and his team race to contain the threats, a digital cabal weaves a vision of the future as infectious as the computerized plague set to deliver it.

Amazon

Have you read any of these books? Read any other superhero fiction lately? I’d love to hear your recommendations in the comments!

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Sensational Superhero Short Stories

Sci-Fi Superheroine running at super-speed

Hey, guys! Fight Crime (A Love Story) is taking a break between episodes this week, but I don’t want to leave you without reading material. Here are four excellent superhero short stories to brighten your Monday.

Falling by Susan Jane Bigelow is a short story in Bigelow’s Extrahuman Union universe, but you don’t need to read the other books in the series to enjoy it. Instead of following the superhero, this story is from the point of view of the cool old lady who nurses the injured hero back to health and inspires him to get back in the fight. The futuristic and slightly dystopian setting hints at an awesomely bigger narrative, but this self-contained short story will leave you entertained and inspired. You can read it at the Book Smugglers.

Doctor was a Madman, Family Man by Paul Blonsky is a very short, very funny story written in the style of an obituary for a supervillain. It’ll take less than five minutes of your time and will leave you laughing. Check it out at Daily Science Fiction.

I tweeted about The Terrible by John Wiswell a few months ago, but if you haven’t read it yet, it’s a great, punchy little story about a supervillain who learns his nemesis was never quite at his mercy like things appeared. There’s a fantastic twist at the beginning, lots of hilarious dialogue, and a wonderfully uplifting ending. Read it at Flash Fiction Online.

The Ways Out by Sam J Miller is another one I mentioned on Twitter. It’s a moving story about a crapsack world where people with superpowers are second-class citizens closely monitored by the government. It has a fantastically creative format, presented as surveillance clips summarized by the agent spying on two superpowered subjects. I won’t spoil the twist at the end, but it’s great, and there’s a beautiful theme of resistance throughout the story. You can find it at Clarkesworld Magazine.

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Turn Back the Pages: Chew

Turn Back the Pages is a biweekly feature where I spotlight a comic that is not fresh and new. It may have come out a few months ago or even a few years ago. Maybe it was hyped and popular, or maybe it was an underappreciated gem. Whatever the case, it’ll be a great comic that’s well worth a read.

Chew graphic novel cover

“Kristen,” you say, “I’m tired of superheroes.”

I know, I know. You’d never really say that. Superheroes are awesome. But let’s say you wanted to try something a little different, something unlike anything you’ve ever read before. Then have I got the comic for you.

Chew by John Layman and Rob Guillory is such a unique book. I’m not sure how to categorize it. Crime fiction? Science fiction? Humor? I don’t know, but whatever it is, it’s awesome.

The Basics

In a world where 116 million people died from bird flu (or what the government claimed was bird flu. It’s a conspiracy!), the sale and consumption of poultry is illegal, and underground restaurants that serve chicken dinners have cropped up like speakeasies.

Crazy enough for you yet? Because it gets better.

The Weird Powers

Our hero is Tony Chu, and he’s cibopathic. What’s that mean? To quote the first issue, “That means he can take a bite of an apple, and get a feeling in his head about what tree it grew from, what pesticides were used on the crop, and when it was harvested. Or he could eat a hamburger, and flash onto something else entirely.” The only food he can eat without his powers acting up is canned beets, so he’s pretty much blessed with suck, as TV Tropes would say.

Tony’s also a cop, and it doesn’t take long for his abilities to be turned to crime-fighting. Since he has to taste something to get a psychic impression, this ends up with him eating some very gross stuff. Just…the grossest stuff. If you’re squeamish, this is not the book for you.

The Hard-boiled Detective Story

The character dynamics are fun. Tony has a hotheaded cyborg partner, a boss who hates him to comically extreme extents, and a perky food reporter love interest (who has neat culinary-related powers of her own). The plot has all the twists you’d expect from a book that could fit in the mystery/conspiracy genre, and there are lots of schemes Tony foils that hint at larger intrigues. The whole thing has a sort of dark, noir atmosphere yet somehow manages to support some really over-the-top humor. It’s a weird book, but weird in a good way.

If you’re interested, start with volume 1 and see where it takes you. I guarantee it’ll be to a place you don’t expect.

Have you read Chew? Have you read anything even remotely like Chew? Let me know your thoughts in the comments.

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“Everything is Perfectly Fine” – Part 5

Fight Crime! BannerFirst time reading? Start at the beginning here.

Blueblood paced up and down the study, his steps clipped and jerky. Outside, the wind pushed against the house, flinging heavy raindrops against the windows. Val settled herself on the leather couch and followed Blueblood with her eyes. His hands were folded behind his back, his head bowed, and every so often his mouth would twitch. He reminded her of a pot of water that was just on the verge of boiling, the surface trembling and about to erupt at any second. His men had been smart to rush out of the room.

“You should have sensed White Knight escaping,” he spat, stopping suddenly in his tracks.

“And you should have had better security,” she replied coolly. Was this it? She had expected a much bigger explosion.

“This isn’t about me,” he snarled.

“No. It’s about—”

“It’s about you. You know, I almost think you had something to do with him getting away.”

Val’s stomach flipped completely over, but she hid it, curling her lip in disdain. “And what would I possibly gain from that?” Continue reading

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Last Week in Superhero Fiction (7/13/17)

Superhero Fiction News Graphic

Samantha Bryant, author of the Menopausal Superhero Series (which has been on my to-read list forever), has an interview up at Mrs. Average Evaluates.

Heroine Worship, sequel to Sarah Kuhn’s YA superhero novel Heroine Complex, came out last week to phenomenal reviews. Here’s one at FANgirl Blog.

Superhero Novels has a review of Indigo, a book written as a collaboration between ten authors(!). I can’t imagine working with so many people on one book.

If you’re in the Lexington, KY area, Matt D. Wilson, author of Supreme Villainy: A Behind-the-Scenes Look at the Most (In)Famous Supervillain Memoir Never Published (which looks absolutely hilarious), will be doing a book signing on July 15th. (Via Twitter)

And in personal news, Almost Invincible, the third book in the White Knight & Black Valentine series, now has an official release date of September 30th. Stay tuned for a cover reveal and more info soon.

Any news I missed? What superhero fiction are you currently reading? Let me know in the comments!

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“Everything is Perfectly Fine” – Part 4

Fight Crime! BannerFirst time reading? Start at the beginning here.

Dave had been conscious for about two hours when a small woman with curly, graying hair walked into his hospital room. The sight of her surprised him so much that he cut off mid-sentence in his conversation with Moreen and Harris.

Harris turned around, saw her, and jumped up. “Hey, lady, you can’t be in here.”

He hurried forward to usher her out, but the woman didn’t slow her pace by a single second. She walked straight at Harris and passed through him like a ghost, not stopping until she reached Dave’s beside.

“Oh, David,” she breathed. She usually looked good for her age, but now her face was waxen and every wrinkle seemed to have grown deeper. Guilt hit Dave like a freight train. His capture had been all over the news, and it must have been horrible for her. She reached out a trembling hand and took hold of his.

“We’ll give you two some privacy.” Moreen stood up and grabbed Harris, who was staring down at his body and patting his chest as if to assure himself he was still solid. She muttered something angrily as she pulled him from the room, and Dave caught the words “—his mother, you ninny.”

“I’m fine, Mamá, really. You didn’t have to come all this way.” Continue reading

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Turn Back the Pages: Spider-Girl

Turn Back the Pages is a biweekly feature where I spotlight a comic that is not fresh and new. It may have come out a few months ago or even a few years ago. Maybe it was hyped and popular, or maybe it was an underappreciated gem. Whatever the case, it’ll be a great comic that’s well worth a read.

Spider-Girl swings forward on webbing between skyscrapers

Confession time, Internet. I’m not that big of a Spider-Man fan. I like him well enough, and I’ll be seeing Spider-Man: Homecoming on Saturday, but he doesn’t make my top 10 list of favorites superheroes—or even my top 20. That being said, I totally dig Spider-Girl.

Who’s Spider-Girl, you ask? Well, that would be May “Mayday” Parker, teenage daughter of Peter Parker and Mary Jane Watson. She’s from an alternate future where Peter and MJ’s first child wasn’t stillborn and that whole Spider-Man selling his marriage to the devil thing never happened (Ugh, I hate that storyline so much). And she is amazing.

The Spider-Girl series (plus The Amazing Spider-Girl and The Spectacular Spider-Girl) has a lot going for it. There’s the consistently good writing and art, for one thing. The supporting cast is a nice mix of old Spider-Man characters and new faces, and there are the great villains you’d expect from a Spider-Man rogues gallery. (Honorable crime boss and supervillain Black Tarantula is a standout—and also who I ship with Mayday. But then, I have a thing for hero/villain romances, which is probably obvious to anyone who reads my books.) But the best part of the series is Mayday herself: an incredibly likeable protagonist who, like her father, is often conflicted about being a superhero and makes great personal sacrifices to do the right thing.

If you’re a Spider-Man fan, you’ll enjoy the familiar blend of high school drama and superheroics. If Spider-Man isn’t your thing, you might like that Mayday focuses more on avoiding pointless fighting and trying to reform her foes, and that she has a support network in her family that Peter never did. The Parker family dynamic is my favorite thing about the series. I love seeing happy, supportive families in superhero fiction (or any fiction, really). Peter and Mary Jane continue to be an awesome couple, and reading about a retired Spider-Man being an overprotective dad is just plain fun.

I’m going to link to the first volume (which is super affordable at only a few bucks for a manga book-sized collection), but the nice thing about Spider-Girl is that it was a long-running series. So if you like it, there’s a ton of material to read. Plus, Spider-Girl is part of the bigger MC2 universe, so you’ll meet lots of other heroes like A-Next, the future Avengers team that came together when Loki (Who else?) attacked, and the X-People, a new version of the X-Men led by Jubilee.

If you’re looking for more web-shooting and wall-crawling after watching the movie, you could do a lot worse than your friendly neighborhood Spider-Girl.

Do you have a favorite Spider-Girl storyline? Want to share your thoughts about Spider-Man: Homecoming? Let me know in the comments.

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“Everything is Perfectly Fine” – Part 3

Fight Crime! BannerFirst time reading? Start at the beginning here.

JB sat on the dusty chair and listened to the sound of rain hitting the roof. Thunder rolled occasionally in the distance, and wind made the old house creak and moan. It was deceptively peaceful, and he enjoyed it while he could. He especially enjoyed that he was sitting in the warm, dry house while Cleto had been sent outside to dump a body in the lake.

“Hey, kid,” said the Black Valentine. “I found where my dad stashed the wine bottles. You want some?”

JB thought about ignoring her. He was still angry, but there was no denying that talking to her was about a hundred percent better than interacting with anybody else around. She only pretended to care about him, but at least she put in that much effort. Nobody else even bothered to pretend.

“Sure,” he said. Then he felt suddenly cold. “Wait. Your dad’s here?”

“No. He owns the house, though. Stocked it up with some pretty good vintages, too.”

She pressed a cool, smooth glass into his hand. JB took a sip, finding a dry white wine that was actually pretty decent. He’d gotten a lot better at telling apart good wines from bad ones since he started underage drinking. Maybe it would come in handy one day. It would be nice to have a useful skill to put on his resume now that he’d essentially dropped out of school. He could be a bartender or something.

Yeah, right. Outliving Blueblood and getting a normal job was a fantasy. As long as he was dreaming, he might as well picture being an astronaut. Continue reading

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