Calvin Stringel wears a battletech suit of armor and calls himself Mechani-CAL. He’s a criminal, a thief, and an arms dealer; a petty, second stringer, wannabe imitator, and a selfish out-for-himself bastard. He’s a gangly looking guy with stringy hair, a chump in a tin can, and a D-list supervillain. To paraphrase Theodor Geisel: “His head wasn’t screwed on right. His shoes were too tight. And most of all, his heart was two sizes too small.”
But serendipity gives Calvin a chance at redemption. The world’s been conquered by a swarm of mind-controlling insects and the only reason he hasn’t become part of the global hive is because he hasn’t taken his battle armor off in weeks. He’s safe…but a little ripe.
Now he finds himself in an awkward position. To save himself, he’s got to save the world. And that means he’s been upgraded to superhero status. He’s fighting crime with the Gulf Coast Guardians, hanging out with the earthly embodiment of Aphrodite (aka “the sexiest woman on the planet”), and rehabilitating his loser image. In fact, those pesky parasitic bugs are turning out to be a big career boost for him.
Calvin’s segue from supervillain to superhero is entertaining and his “confessions” are pretty funny. His never-ending armor upgrades provide a little bit of mecha porn for hardware geeks. And there’s even a big dollop of romance for readers who enjoy that sort of thing. The novel is short, but the author assures us that he’s planning to write a couple of sequels. In the meantime, while waiting for those books to come out, you can scratch Calvin Stringel’s name off the D-list.
[Confessions of a D-List Supervillain / By Jim Bernheimer / First Printing: April 2011 / ISBN 9781461084747]