As a professing geek, I have to admit that I grew up reading comic books. Spider-man was my favorite. I began reading his comics just as he got the alien costume. Not long after, he got married and I stuck with the character for OVER TWENTY YEARS (pay attention here, Marvel), until the writers that be decided to retcon the marriage. That was when I finally jumped ship.
Pretty much blaming Marvel Comics, as a whole, for what happened, I tried to switch to DC. Then their entire UNIVERSE retconned (this is the second time that they’ve done it). So what’s a superhero-loving geek to do?
I started looking for indie superheroes. There are several . . . Melody Ravert’s “Nightwolf”, A.P. Fuchs’ “Axiom-man”, Frank Dirscherl’s “The Wraith” and, now, Raymond Benson’s “The Black Stiletto.”
I found this last ebook on Amazon for a special free promotion. I rather enjoyed it. The story is told in the first person perspective by three different characters: Martin Talbot (the Black Stiletto’s son); an elderly mob enforcer named Roberto Ranelli, who has just gotten out of prison after more than fifty years; and, of course, the Black Stiletto herself, through her son’s reading of her diary. Martin’s mother is in a nursing home with Alzheimer’s disease. She had enlisted a lawyer friend to give her son a number of items from her past when she could no longer remain in control of herself. To Martin’s surprise, these include the diaries of the famous Black Stiletto, a costumed crime fighter who was active in the late 1950s and early 1960s.
The book manages a very cohesive plot, considering three different points of view. The Black Stiletto is a flirty heroine who I liken to Catwoman, but with more of a moral core. She defends those who need her and even fights a Communist spy at one point in the novel. However, I admit disappointment at the fact that she has powers, as I was hoping for a more “Batman-type” character. Her powers seem to be mutant in origin. She can tell when someone is lying and she has an early warning sense that works very much like that of my former favorite superhero. And the powers seem to be genetic, as well.
I was also disappointed with how the story threw cohabitation in as acceptable, having the heroine speak against her current (late 1950s) society’s norms on the subject. She also wasn’t afraid to kill the villains. The book talks about the characters having sex (including one rape scene) without going into detail. But the language in the book was mature. The four-letter word gets a workout, as well as several instances of taking the Lord’s Name in vain.
The climax of the book is rather abrupt, but still good. I’d recommend that any fellow adult geeks read it. Just keep it away from the kids.
On a side note, there is a sequel. However, I won’t be buying it for a while. The price of the Kindle version is $10.91. I just can’t see paying that much for an ebook.