I like honesty. You hardly ever see real honesty in the universe. Nothing scares people more.
Rico, the hero of Frank J. Fleming’s novel, Superego, is an intergalactic hit man in the distant future. He is particularly good at his job due to being genetically engineered. First of all, he’s remarkably strong, with extremely fast reflexes. Secondly, his brain is wired for multitasking. Thirdly, and most importantly, he has no empathy at all. To him, innocent bystanders are just part of the furniture, entirely expendable.
Until one day, on a planet where a major interplanetary conference is about to start, he kills a group of terrorists and (wholly unintentionally) saves many innocent lives. Suddenly, Rico is a hero – which gives him no pleasure. The local police ask for his help (though, annoyingly, they keep taking his guns away), and he finds himself working with a police woman named Diane. Diane doesn’t trust him (which only shows her good sense). But gradually – as they survive several other hairy situations and become even bigger heroes – he starts having feelings for her. This has never happened before, and he hadn’t thought it was possible. Which only complicates his life, which is already complicated enough as one surprise after another begins to reveal the true scope of the corruption within the Galactic Alliance.
I’ve known author Frank J. Fleming for many years – first through his hilarious blog, IMAO, and more recently as a leading light at America’s new Paper of Record, The Babylon Bee. I wasn’t sure what kind of a novelist he’d be. But I was pleasantly surprised.
Superego provides a fusion of Hard-Boiled thriller and space opera, and works extremely well on both levels. But what makes the book really work (as with all great Hard-Boiled) is the voice of the narrator. Rico’s psychopathy gives the ironic tone an extra punch, and Frank J.’s signature sense of humor provides many a (black comedy) laugh.
Oh yes, there are Christian themes here too – Diane is a Christian and attends church, and Rico even attends a Bible study. His awkwardness with that social situation exactly corresponded to my own experience, by the way, and that gave me a moment’s pause even as I laughed.
Recommended. There’s a sequel, too.