The first book in the Supervillainy Saga.

Publication year: 2015
Format: Audio
Running time: 6 hours and 38 minutes
Narrator: Jeffrey Kafer

Gary Karkofsky is pretty much a normal guy except that he’s the brother of a deceased supervillain, Stringray. When the magical cloak of a deceased superhero Nightwalker appears at his doorstep, Gary immediately takes the cloak and decides to become Merciless, the supervillain without mercy. The magical cloak is alive and Gary talks with him (apparently it has a voice like Darth Vader) out loud. The cloak can make him intangible and levitate for a short while but it also has a major drawback: unless its powers are used every day, the dead will rise.

Gary and his wife Mandy live in Falcon Crest where many superheroes and -villains live. For his first act of villainy, Merciless decides to rob the bank. Unfortunately, the Ice Cream Man and his gang are also robbing it. Merciless and the Ice Cream Man fight and Merciless kills the Ice Cream Man who is, by the way, a murdering psychopath. Later, he tussles with the Typewriter who has kidnapped a tycoon’s daughter. Gary agrees to save her, in exchange for a half a million dollars. The Typewriter is also a killer rather than an honorable supervillain, like they used to be years ago.

This short book has lots of twists and turns and humor. But the later chapters are more serious and it ends in a cliffhanger.

This was loads of fun. Gary is more decent guy than many of the really psychotic villains but he has his heart set on becoming a supervillain rather than a hero. This world works in comic book rules and some of the characters even talk in extremely cheesy way. Phipps takes many of the genre’s convention and uses them for humor. Gary’s wife doesn’t really approve but supports him, at least as long as he promises not to get killed or kill innocent people. They have two dogs: Arwen and Galadriel.

Gary even gets two henchpersons, one of them his ex-girlfriend and the other a former evil mastermind Diablo man.

This is a fluffy pure fun and I’m looking forward to the next in the series.