Most people thought that Heroes jumped the shark in its last two seasons. They were right, mostly, but there was one element that should have been allowed to expand. There was a covert government agency whose task was to corral the specials. The population at large didn’t know anything about these people until the cheerleader revealed her healing ability on national television.
What does any of this have to do with this review? Imagine our own world where one out of a hundred people are born with special abilities. They are called brilliants or abnorms. No one has telekinesis or the power to manipulate fire or anything like that. Their powers have more to do with how they interpret the world around them and how they can use it to their advantage. The government has a division dedicated to monitoring the brilliants. Children are tested at age 8 if they exhibit any signs of abilities and the tier one (most powerful) are placed in academies, stripped from their parents, names changed. This is deemed necessary as they hold immeasurable potential towards advancing the United States. Or destroying it.
Department of Analysis and Response Agent Nick Cooper is a brilliant. His skill is finding patterns to determine what happens next. His task is to track down brilliant terrorist John Smith, a man responsible for the murder of a U.S. Senator as well as seventy others. He is the most dangerous man in America and Cooper’s agency has learned about Smith’s organization’s next attack. The target: the stock exchange on Wall Street.
Cooper arrives on the scene late and finds the suspected trigger woman, an attractive woman who can bypass any security just by walking by: a woman that seemingly walks through walls. He catches up to her just in time to see the exchange explode, taking over a thousand citizens with it. The blast concusses him and allows his prey to escape. His only lead on Smith is in the wind.
When Cooper finds that his four year old daughter is likely tier one and is to be tested four years early, he knows what that means. He makes a deal with his department head to keep his child from being tested and taken away from his ex-wife and son. Cooper has to go undercover to try to get close to Smith, and kill him. The caveat being that the world has to believe that he has gone rogue.
With the DAR blaming him for the exchange bombing and hunting him down, Cooper has to use his skills for crime and finds he is really good at it. He must form alliances with unsavory types, including the woman from the bomb site, to stay alive long enough to infiltrate Smith’s terrorist cell. After that, hopefully, everything can go back to normal.
Chicago resident and TV personality Marcus Sakey has written a novel about superpowers that is entirely plausible, exciting, and constantly engaging. It has a little bit of everything: sci-fi, espionage, and summer blockbuster action. Brilliance is…I don’t want to say brilliant, but only because that’s a gimme. But it is. It keeps the pulse pounding and the mind fully engaged, a perspicacious beginning of a new saga.
This book is on shelves now from publisher Thomas & Mercer.