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Marianne’s Pick of the Week: Starter Villain by John Scalzi

John Scalzi had me at the cover.  

Confession: I am an unapologetic “cat lady.”  Do not get me started. I love cats in all shapes and sizes. So, when I spied the cover of Starter Villain, I just knew it was a book for me – a cat in a suit and tie! Oh, be still my heart. 

Charlie Fitzer is a former newspaper reporter now working as a substitute teacher in the Chicago suburbs. He lives with his cat, Hera, in a house his siblings want to buy, he’s broke, and truth-be-told…kind of a sad sack.  

While watching CNN one morning (with Hera at his side, naturally) Charlie hears the news that his Uncle Jake, a well-known billionaire, has died. He receives word from his uncle’s “right-hand man,” Mathilda Morrison, that Charlie is in line to receive an inheritance just large enough to solve all his problems. Along the way, Charlie’s house blows up; he learns that Hera is a bona fide talking (via specialty computer software) criminal mastermind; his uncle owned an “super villain” volcanic island lair like something out of a James Bond film; and union-seeking dolphins unabashedly use foul language.  

Then, the annual convention of super villains takes place, and all you- know-what breaks loose. Charlie is somehow framed for the murder of the Super Villian Union’s Chairperson of the Board and must clear his name and avoid being assassinated. Hilarity and chaos ensue.  

This is a funny, unconventional book filled with snarky, mischievous characters who curl up and snuggle down into your heart (especially one special cat and a trash-talking dolphin). The plot is twisty and filled with hyperbolic plotlines that keep you on your toes. Not to mention, all the references to beloved movies and books make this a feel-good story.  

This is a light, “fluffy” read for those of you who enjoyed Hench by Natalie Zina Walschots or Bad Monkey by Carl Hiaasen, or if you just enjoy your books filled with references to The Princess Bride or Lord of the Rings (which I love).  

If you are “felineing” in the mood for a charming easy read, pick up Starter Villain.  

My very own super villain, Ringo!

Categories: Books and More

Tags: Books and More

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