"WORKING CLASS HERO is James Robert Smith's best novel since the Hollywood-optioned THE FLOCK.
James expertly weaves blue collar superhero sensibilities into our modern world. The characterization is outstanding, and the world building is first rate as always.
The concept of regulated super heroes working for the government, and non-regulated super heroes as "outlaws" is a lot of fun. This juxtaposition allows for some fine entertainment and thrilling scenarios.
I was highly entertained by this novel, and the sensitive depiction of Bill B. Billy is an alpha 2.0, with a powerful level of self-awareness, a rare thing in a super hero tale. Mostly we get the brawn or snark in super hero books or films. We get much more in Working Class Hero.
James twists and turns the reader through heroes, villains, and various agencies, resulting in a gripping read and a very satisfying conclusion.
Highly recommended." -- Pine Marten
"I went in to Working Class Hero by James Robert Smith with an open mind, not sure what to expect from a writer who I mostly associated with horror novels. I was very surprised to have read a thoughtful, exciting real-world look at super-heroes (hypers) and how their newly acquitted powers changes and disrupts their ordinary lives. Billy B is our hero, a working class laborer, not unlike the writer, who finds himself gifted with new abilities and the responsibilities that they bring. The book was full of exciting, colorful characters who have their own agendas and own problems. Well written, an exciting trip inside the mind of a man who has now become a super man." -- Mark Masztal
"Working Class Hero sucked me in right from the beginning, and I couldn't put it down. The author leads us down a rabbit hole into a present day reality, populated by super-powered humans that is both a nostalgic nod to Golden Age comics, and also a tip of the hat to the darker realism of Alan Moore/Frank Miller comics. WCH also offers a unique world all it's own, in which some humans have accidentally developed an assortment of super abilities over the course of the last 20 years, and no one quite understands why or how. In response to this phenomenon, the government created a task force to regulate super powered humans, and people generally fall into two categories: those who register their powers and do service for the government, and those who illegally avoid the required service and become outlaws. The book implies there are others who try to lead normal lives and stay under the radar, and a lot of complex social controls have developed to monitor and try to locate and punish any 'illegal hypers'.
This book follows the superhero Billy B, who was once a blue collar loading dock worker before developing super strength, speed, and toughness (as well as an envy for Hypers who can fly, since he is only capable of high jumping)! He's a refined redneck, self-educated through his love for books, who possesses innate intelligence and sensitivity for people and their struggles. He's also a rough-around-the-edges tough guy.
It would be a disservice to give away a single spoiler for this book, but what struck me most is how I was taken by the hand and drawn immediately into the world of this character, as his own world began spinning out of control. The story world blended so realistically into present society that I was taken seamlessly from my mundane existence and transformed easily into the hero of an alternate reality chock full of depth, excitement, and complexity. The reader slips into Billy B's character like our own private superhero costume, living inside his head and feeling his thoughts, emotions and experiences as he's drawn deeper into the world gone mad around him. It's hard to know which entity is more sinister--the government agency he works for or the villains who've begun working together in an effort to sabotage certain elements of society. The dynamics between the various heroes and villains and agencies come to life and swirl together into a character driven narrative which makes it hard to put the book down. Mounting tension and rich characters carry us onward as the mysteries unfold and the excitement continues, and the author never fails to deliver on the promises of the book. An exciting, thought provoking read which paves the way for a really fun story world which I hope to see many more entries in." -- Matt Damon.
|WORKING CLASS HERO: The Autobiography of Billy B. by James Robert Smith.|