Note: This book really works best if you’ve read the previous two books.
Set almost 1 year after the ending of Book 2, The Games of Supervillainy, Gary returns to continue the nefarious fight as Merciless, the Supervillain without Mercy! The end of Book 2 left Gary’s wife, Mandy, in a bit of a lurch. She’s now a blood sucking soulless vampire and no one wants to hang out with her. Gary has continued his search for a way to bring back Mandy’s soul but hasn’t had any luck. At least, not until Death rears her ugly head once again and makes an offer Gary can’t refuse. Earth’s greatest hero has died and Death wants Gary to hunt down the killer. In exchange, she offers to bring one soul back from the abyss.
Of course, Gary be the single-minded, bull-headed, stubborn idiot that he is, he can’t refuse. Even as he strives to solve this case to bring back his wife’s soul, he comes to realize he has deep romantic feelings for his long-time friend and current henchwench, Cindy. To complicate matters, his ex-girlfriend Gabrielle (AKA Ultragoddess) is also on scene bringing up old feelings.
Besides Gary’s complicated love life, there’s plenty of action, snark, and pop culture references. I personally enjoyed the references to one of Phipps’s other books, Esoterrorism. Gary has plenty of friends doing their best to keep his stupidity from killing him. Cloak is always handing out advice whether you want it or not. El Diablo Man and his luchadero mask! So funny! One of the newest supervillains is the Fruitbat. Yep. Every time he was mentioned, I had to giggle. Besides Gary’s friends and coworkers, we meet his niece and his mom. His niece wants to join the family business but Gary firmly insists she’s too young for it. Meanwhile, his mom sees dead people; in fact, most of her good friends are dead.
With the help of some time travel shenanigans, things get twisted and weird – all in a good way. Honestly, it’s the humor and the costumes that keep this plot together and amusing. I was laughing throughout the book. The Supervillain/Hero names, costumes, and powers were always amusing to me even if Gary did not find them so. I also enjoyed the flashbacks, several of which explored Gary’s former relationship with Gabrielle.
Besides Gary, Cindy is my favorite character. She’s a villain to be sure, but she does have scruples and she is loyal to her friends. I love picturing her in her Red Riding outfit, a basket full of weapons. Yes, I would not want to tick Cindy off! Her wit and humor, often inappropriate, had me laughing the most. If Gary doesn’t hook up with her then I might just see if she’s free for beer.
I received a free copy of this book.
The Narration: Jeffrey Kafer makes a great Gary the Merciless once again. I also continue to like his voice for Cindy with it’s regional accent. There were a few emotional scenes in this book (like when Gary meets with his parents and such) and Kafer did a great job of portraying those emotions.