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Retirement. Publishers, thank you for the many years of reading pleasure you gave me, but all good things must come to an end. Due to failing eyesight I am forced to retire. I can no longer review your books, and any that you send will be donated to the local library, unread. Do not send any more. I can only read for a couple hours every day, and this does not allow me to finish a book in reasonable time. I will be devoting time to my own books from now on, and reading on a personal level. Books that interest me. I prefer paperbacks and hardbacks, not eBooks. My eyesight has been failing the last few years, and I cannot handle hundreds of review books any more. My books are still available for review. Anyone interested in reviewing any of them, they are found in the Link to Tom’s Books On Amazon. Contact me for pdf copies at

Monday, July 28, 2014

Blaze of Glory

Blaze of Glory

Saving the world is easy for a superhero—unless you’re a fraud.

Jo Tanis is a superhero, fighting evil on the city streets, using her ability to feed off electromagnetic energy and fire off charges—and it’s all just a show. The Agency captures her and others like her when their powers begin to manifest, pitting them against each other in staged, gladiatorial fights. An explosive implant on the back of her neck assures she’ll keep right on smiling for the camera and beating up the bad guys.

When Earth comes under attack, suddenly the show becomes deadly real. Unable to deal with a real alien, the “supers” are falling in droves. Millions of innocent civilians are going to die…unless Jo can cobble together a team from among the fake heroes and villains the Agency enslaved. Including Hunter, who not only promises to show her how to deactivate the implants, but seems to know more than he should about how the mysterious Agency operates.

Forcing a rag-tag bunch of former enemies to work together is the least of Jo’s problems. The trick is determining if Hunter is friend or foe—and becoming the hero everyone thought she was before the world is destroyed for real.

Warning: Contains superhero in-jokes, Canadiana and large alien craft shaped like avocados. Really.

Blaze of Glory (Super Hero)
By Sheryl Nantus
ISBN #978-1609280123
Samhain Publishing, Ltd.
Price $13.50 Paperback
Price $4.24 Kindle
264 Pages
Rating 4-Stars

In this world of comic book super heroes, a government group called The Agency is looking for people with special powers. Somehow accidents cause these powers to surface in a person, and the Agency is made aware of them through a pro-cog in their service. Jo Tanis is one such woman with super powers. After a brick is thrown against her head, she suddenly finds that she can control magnetic energy, and send these waves out through her hands. Other people have different powers.

The Agency tests each individual for positive and negative potential, then classify them as either super heroes or super villains. Placing an explosive device in their neck to keep them under the Agency’s control, they then enhance their abilities with machinery and gadgets, and put the heroes and villains in fake battles for the television network. The fights are fixed, of course, to draw better ratings. All this changes when alien ships appear over every major city of the world, and one alien comes out of each demanding to fight their local Class A Hero. The aliens are winning, and killing the fake heroes. When the Class B heroes (not quite up to par with the A’s) refuse to fight the aliens and die, The Agency pops their heads off with that device planted in their neck.

Jo Tanis, known as Surf, escapes, and with help from civilian friends they block the detonator in her neck from exploding. She then gathers all the B Heroes and Villains together to fight the alien menace on their own, with their real super powers.

This was a fun read, though there was little characterization. I figure since this is an on-going series the characterization will slowly emerge with the stories. The danger didn’t feel real or threatening enough. Perhaps it lacked the visual of a comic book, and didn’t translate well to prose.  Metal Mike sets off a nuclear device in his robotic suit as he is dying, which destroys many city blocks in New York City, and kills hundreds of people, but it’s like this happens every day - it does in the comic book world. Thoughts of Mike dying pass through Jo’s mind every so often, after all they were living and sleeping together, but it doesn’t seem to be such a big deal. She even has feelings for a new guy right away. My main problem with the story was the heavy use of profanity. It really isn’t necessary. Profanity fails to show change in mood, shock, or danger if used constantly in normal conversation. I would prefer a turn of phrase or witty comeback to make a point instead of using profanity. The story would have been much better without it.

There is no great literature here. The story is told in good comic book adventure style, just missing the visual aspects. Comic book fans everywhere will find a lot to like about the story. After all, super heroes and super villains are what we grew up with.

Tom Johnson


The wave smashed into us, driving us back so hard I felt my fingernails dig into the lush green grass and lose traction, tugging dirt up under the exposed nails. Then the wave was gone as if it had only been a shared illusion.
The flagpole next to us wavered and then started falling. Without hesitation Slammer leapt into the air and brought it to the ground as softly as he could, his feet digging into the thick soil as he let out a loud huff.
The few windows in the buildings around us shattered, sending shards of glass flying outwards as the bells nearby began to ring, an off-tune melody of confusion that mounted as we watched the two men spin back and forth across the sky near the alien craft. Scrambling to my feet, I looked around and saw the others seemed to be okay. Hunter stayed close, his hands clenching and unclenching as he stared skyward.

The two figures danced back and forth across the sky like a pair of enraged hawks defending their territory. One would dart forward, let go with a series of multicolored bolts of energy that I knew had been stolen from the other supers, and then throw up a force field or a shield of some sort to catch and toss aside the other alien’s attack. It would have been a beautiful display of fireworks if the fate of the whole world hadn’t been hanging on the outcome.

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