The premise is simple: Charlie’s estranged Uncle Jake died. Charlie and his uncle are estranged because Charlie’s father and Jake had a fallout at the funeral of Charlie’s mom, and Charlie has not had much contact at all with Jake ever since. Now, with Jake also dead, it turns out that Charlie somehow is his only heir.
Then Charlie is holding watch at Jake’s funeral, and the entire story turns quickly into a James Bond novel, with strange brutes trying to stab the corpse of Jake, ensuring he’s really dead, and a collection of very weirdly imprinted flower bouquets – “See you in hell” being one of the nicer ones.
Charlie quickly learns that his uncle was a Villain, complete with a lair on a volcano island, laser weapons to destroy satellites, and a collection of very nice and special cats (and Dolphins, but they are special and not nice). He also learns that “Villain” does not exactly mean what he thinks that it means.
Scalzi spent his pages playing nicely with the clichés and expectations around James-Bond-like supervillains, and turning them into a fun story with a number of expected and unexpected twists. He wouldn’t be Scalzi if there is no stuff to think about lurking in the background. In this case, fairly obviously the relationship between 1950’s supervillains and present day billionaires, oligarchs and our survival as a species.
A nice two-afternoon read.
“Starter Villain ”, John Scalzi, EUR 9,99.