Title: Hero for the Holidays (Spandex and Superpowers #5)
Author: Charles Payseur
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: December 1, 2018
Genre(s): Super Hero, Romance, Short Story, Holiday, Advent, Urban Fantasy
Page Count: 49 Pages
Reviewed by: ColinJ
Heat Level: 2 flames out of 5
Rating: 3 stars out of 5
Cody travels from Metro City to the Caribbean island lair of Dr. Devious to look after the place while the supervillain is in space for the holidays… and maybe to mend his broken heart. With Christmas fast approaching, Cody is desperate to avoid reminders of his recent disastrous breakup, and a few weeks of sun and relaxation sound perfect—until a drunk (but very cute) superhero crashes the party by literally crashing onto the beach.
And that’s just the start of Cody’s problems—angry shark-men, mysterious lava creatures, and a malfunctioning AI all make his holiday getaway anything but relaxing. Amid the chaos of his adventures in lair-sitting, though, Cody might find just what he needs—a new chance at love.
This is a pleasant little slice of hokum, but not without its weaknesses. The difficulty with any short story is setting the scene whilst leaving enough space for the story. This book errs on the side of a very light background. This leaves the world building unexplored. As this is the fifth book in the series it is assumed that this has been teased out in earlier books. Certainly, this book can be read as a stand-alone story, but it feels full of holes in understanding. Character development requires an acceptance of an overlap between good and evil and the characters that assume their mantle. There is no tension in this tale and character development is minimal, as such there are no hidden agendas.
With regards to the relationship development between the two lead characters, this reads like a young teen story. It is very hormonal and the sexual content is more implied than actual and does not dominate the story. Sadly, the superficial character development means that the reader has limited investment in the characters and their relationship.
The story is episodic and moves from one scene to the next in quite a jerky fashion. Secondary storylines and characters are introduced to keep the story moving, but there is no real plot to hold these all together. It is a light read and so quite easy to progress and the lack of complexity means that the only requirement of the reader is that they remember who is who.
The story ends with the relationship offering a clear way forward and the potential antagonistic elements pacified. However, the outcome of all of the threads remains open. So there is a possibility that this book will have a sequel.