A young man uses his newfound ability to readily access his adrenaline to stop injustice and protect the innocent in Jersey City, in this first of a proposed series.
Nick Spears saves his mother from a speeding car and injures himself in the process. But he shows no signs of damage and quickly realizes that he can boost his strength—he calls it going “diesel”—at will. He dubs himself Spear, wears a costume, crafts weapons and runs across rooftops searching for lawbreakers. But there are others with abilities; the government calls them Breakers. Most are either misguided or looking to end Spear’s crime-fighting ways. Debut novelist Grant churns out a rock-solid superhero story, and fans of the genre will get what they came for: baddies with stellar powers, a rich power-hungry main villain and an Achilles’ heel for the hero (Spear’s adrenaline rush lasts only 15 minutes, followed by a three-minute recharge). What sets the novel apart is the shrewd incorporation of the everyday into Nick’s superhero life: He doesn’t stop bank robbers since they rob during the day when he’s at work; he has to ride the bus since his car keeps breaking down; and he calls about Internet problems during his rounds as Spear, at one point having criminals wait while he talks to an operator. There are also humorous moments—Spear mocks a villain’s name so often he decides to change it. The author does seem unsure of the book’s structure; Chapter 1 is Nick’s first-person perspective, while the rest of the novel is third-person. The author also includes his own sketches of characters, fine illustrations that are nearly suitable for a comic-book series themselves.
Great potential for a comic-book rendering but still commendable in its novel form and certain to appease superhero buffs.