Book three of the Supervillainy Saga opens with a jump right into the middle of a vicious battle between Gary, er, Merciless: The Supervillain Without Mercy™ and The Left Handed Bokor. Merciless only wants to exchange an insane amount of money for a magic stone so he can return his wife Mandy to her normal, human life. Apparently, Bokor got a better offer, and he’s after Gary’s head—literally. After the fight, Merciless retreats to his home turf, and things go pear-shaped for everyone.
Gary’s in a bad spot, with an insane President, the greatest hero on Earth, an ex-girlfriend, ex-wife, a new girlfriend, Cloak, and Death herself breathing down his neck. He desperately wants to release his wife from vampirism and pursues that goal while also attempting to keep the world as he knows it from being erased. On top of that, Death has sent him on a mission to solve a murder, and to top it all off, his powers are still weak from the battle against the Brotherhood of Infamy (book 2).
Like the first two books in the series, Gary’s plans fall somewhere between hoping he has a plan, and relying on the bad guys to overreach their intelligence. Along the way, he discovers a twist (no spoilers, you have to read it for yourself) that he might be able to use to his advantage. I thought that particular plot device was cleverly done and is one of my favorite parts of the book.
I thoroughly enjoyed the idea of Gary as an “Anti-villain”. He wants to give back to the people of Falconcrest City, and uses his ill-gotten gains to buy up real estate and rebuilding the city, as well as building a hospital and free clinics. He feels bad for the people who are caught in the super-battles and hopes to make their lives a little better. It seems to me that Gary’s attitude shifted after talking to his brother.
Having read the first two books, I’m accustomed to Gary’s pop-culture references, his flippant attitude, and the inevitable back-and-forth quibbling with Cindy, Diabloman, and even himself. However, some of the conversations went on a bit too long, making the humor and the rehashed arguments a little stale. My sentiments echoed his sidekicks when they, too, got tired of him mooning about Cindy vs. Mandy and wanted him to get over it.
But every series has a book that doesn’t quite live up to the others. It’s normal and expected. I keep reading because the author has a knack for over-the-top, anime-worthy action, narrow escapes, and funny, escapist entertainment. Secrets ends with part of Gary’s problems resolved and a solid hook for more in the series, so I look forward to more adventures.