About The Book
My name is John Black and I’m in trouble.
I used to be your typical nerd, a total weakling, letting bullies like Bobby Graden push me around. Then one day, Bobby and I got hit by a car. Somehow, the accident changed us, as if something inside us responded. It made us strong. More than strong, actually. It gave us power.
That power brought us together, our shared secret creating a friendship despite our differences. Bobby and I could do things no one else could, and it was exhilarating, fun.
Until the day we found out we weren’t alone.
And that, for others, power can be deadly serious.
I just finished reading Keith Soares’ For I Could Lift My Finger and Black Out the Sun, the first book in Soares’ John Black series (every title seems to include the word “black” – each one done very cleverly).
These are superhero books, of a sort, and For I Could is the hero’s origin story. Or maybe more accurately, the heroes’.
It starts off in a very unassuming way, with a family barbecue and a nosy asshole of a neighbor. I had to check the genre on Amazon to make sure it was actually si-fi. But then the action gets going with a crash – literally a car crash – which for some reason seems to be a life-altering event that bestows superpowers on our hero John Black and the bully in his life, Bobby Graden.
One of the things I loved about this story was how Soares goes against type here. it’s not too much of a spoiler to tell you this, because it’s revealed pretty early on – Bobby and John become best friends, although there are still plenty of bumps along the way.
Bobby is gung-ho about trying out his new powers, which include the ability to outright avoid injury, to heal really quickly when it does happen, and to “push” speople’s minds to do what he wants them to. With a couple fourteen-year-old boys, you can see how this would all go pear-shaped very quickly.
There are a number of mysteries here—how Bobby and John got their powers, who the mysterious others with similar powers are, and what they plan to do with them. There’s also the asshole neighbor, Walter Ivory, and Bobby’s sister Holly Black, who has a life-altering seizure at the start of the story and remains an enigma for most of it.
Soares does a great job of getting inside the head of an adolescent boy. The whole story is told from John’s point of view, and we experience every tragedy and triumph through the lens of his character. Soares also paces the discovery and improvement of John’s abilities nicely, building gradually toward the end of the book when John really comes into his own.
I also loved the relationship between John and his mother, who comes through when he needs her, even if she doesn’t really understand what’s happening.
Kudos to the author too for a very clean manuscript – I ran across only the most minor of errors, and only a couple times in the whole book. It’s great when self-published authors take so much care to get things right.
This is the first in a series, and so we get most of our answers by the end of this volume—there’s a powerful, satisfying climax. But Soares holds a few things back for the next one, and he throws in a major game changer or two in the last few pages.
For I Could Lift My Finger and Black Out the Sun is a well-paced, fascinating hero’s origin tale, one you won’t want to put down until you reach the end. Especially when you read the teaser for book two… 😉
Suffice it to say, you’ll be soarley (sorry, Keith – couldn’t resist) tempted to pick up immediately where this one leaves off.
Scott is the founder of Liminal Fiction, and a fantasy and sci fi writer in his own right, with more than 30 published short stories, novellas and novels to his credit, including two trilogies.