Overlook

The Phoenix Ring Book 1

Heroes Unleashed Book 4

Rated 5.00 out of 5 based on 3 customer ratings
(3 customer reviews)
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Overlook
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Nothing is more dangerous than an invisible man.

Joe’s spent his life being forgotten. Not even the IRS comes for his back taxes. He’s a ghost, a perfectly average, perfectly forgettable man. It suits his purposes, though it’s a lonely existence. He can live as he wants, plying his almost-invisibility for freelance jobs.

Then a pretty blonde finds him when no one else can, asking for his help solving a murder. He almost says no, despite his instincts to help a damsel in distress. But how did she find him? And who is she?

He takes the job to find out. But he bites off more than he can chew as he realizes a brutal secretive organization called The Phoenix Ring is behind the murder, and somehow they can predict his every move.

A new Heroes Unleashed series begins with Jon Mollison’s Overlook, a fast-paced, action-packed superhero spy novel that will keep readers guessing until the end.

Can Joe defeat the shadowy Phoenix Ring? Or will his powers fail him when he needs them the most? Read Overlook today and find out!

Weight 1 lbs
Edition

EBook, Paperback, Hardcover

Book Author

Jon Mollison, Thomas Plutarch

Book Series

,

3 reviews for Overlook

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  1. Benjamin I. Espen (verified owner)

    Overlook is another entry in the Heroes Unleashed universe, this time we get a spy novel in world of superheroes. Joe Smith, a man whose name is not the only forgettable thing about him, quietly supports himself as a penetration tester, hired by companies to test the vulnerabilities in their security. Joe has an extremely unfair advantage in this, insofar as anyone who isn’t actively paying attention to him cannot notice him.

    This might sound like a pretty sweet gig, but Joe’s power also means that he is perpetually lonely. A moment of inattention and Joe just fades from your mind. The mundane pleasures of family and friends are hard to come by. Even if he made a friend, they would forget to call. At one point, Joe jokes that he is lucky he didn’t starve in his crib.

    A man of less character might be tempted to do a great many things of ill repute, secure in the knowledge that anonymity is all but assured. However, Joe is such a straight arrow that he dutifully files his taxes every year even though the IRS always loses the paperwork.

    Thus, when Joe stumbles across an enforcer and two heavies harassing the immigrant manager of a convenience store, he simply does what he feels is right, even though he could have simply walked away with none of the participants in the drama ever having noticed him. Since Joe overheard that the manager had earned this visit by being unable to acquiesce in the trafficking of children, he feels his duty is clear.

    While Joe’s ability guarantees surprise, he cannot hide from hostile attention. Thus, once he intervenes by dropping one of the thugs with a glass bottle to the temple, the rest of the fight relies on Joe’s merely mortal strength, speed, and wits. Since Joe is no stranger to violence and death, a former Marine Recon sniper, he acquits himself well, and saves the woman and her daughter.

    Joe doesn’t think much of this, implying that he has done similar things before. However, this time, Joe has interfered with an organization, the Phoenix Ring, with the reach and patience to hunt him down. A superpower-enhanced game of cat and mouse begins after Joe intervenes in that convenience store, with the Phoenix Ring somehow able to know what Joe is doing before he does, but Joe’s power to elude notice, wits, and pluck somehow bring him through.

    An element of Joe’s power that I really appreciate is that Joe honed his craft by surreptitiously studying con artists, stage magicians, and covert operatives. In a sense, Joe’s power is only a minor improvement on what a skilled sleight-of-hand artist can do, or the way in which an actor like Tom Hanks can attend public events by acting like a nobody. But a minor improvement is still an improvement in a winner-takes-all game like the one Joe is playing. That Joe applied himself so diligently when he clearly could have coasted through life is an interesting lens on his character.

    And I think character is important here, because what else is it that separates villains from heroes? Character can be described as what you do when no one is looking, and for Joe, no one is ever looking.

    2 out of 2 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?
  2. tjamarquis (verified owner)

    Overlook is a great street-level hero in the HU universe.
    It’s a well-written bit of heroic escapism for those of us who wish we could take direct action against the evils perpetrated against innocents in our own world.
    The pacing is on-point for a novel this length and the threats and stakes are varied and enjoyable.
    Joe’s powers are understated and reasonable, yet surprisingly useful. Mollison does a good job of going deep with the ability and not just wide, putting Joe to work in a variety of situations that don’t fail to challenge him. His powers even affect his personal life, but that’s where I could use a little more detail. The deeper aspects of Joe’s character aren’t overlooked (harhar) but I wouldn’t mind feeling like I know him a little better after the mission’s done. Not that he’s entirely forgettable to the reader – I will certainly be picking up the next installment!

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  3. declanfinninc (verified owner)

    Of the Silver Empire superhero books released thus far, I believe this is my favorite to date. And this is out of an elite batch of authors, all of whom excel in their subgenres. Morgon Newquist’s was more classic superhero. Kai Wai Cheah’s was more police procedural or noir thriller. JD Cowan’s was more Isekai.

    Jon Mollison’s Overlook is more spy thriller. I could almost hear Jeffery Donovan’s Michael Weston narrate this one.

    As the old poem goes, “Last night I saw upon the stair, /A little man who wasn’t there,/ He wasn’t there again today /Oh, how I wish he’d go away…”

    Overlook begins with a low key version of a James Bond opening, but it’s one of the better fight scenes I’ve read in a while. It’s clear, well blocked, and sets up the rest of the book as perfectly as one of those over the top Bond scenarios.

    Our hero, dear reader, is an average man — average color, hair, eyes, appearance. Before he received his super powers, he was a sniper instructor, and already a bit of a ghost (insert John Ringo joke here). One day, he just … disappeared.

    But now, he’s the little man who wasn’t there. He’s the middle child of five sons. He is so invisible, he has to cook his own food at a diner. When he’s adrift at sea, he has to save himself, because no one would see him and save him.

    His name? Joe Smith. Just plain Joe.

    Because of course that would be his name.

    Despite avoiding trouble as best he can, it finds him anyway. Because with great powers comes great headaches. And one is about to find him. It starts with a simple murder, and evolves into a conspiracy of the Phoenix Ring — an organization so monstrous and so complex, the leads are less dead ends “and more of a knotted ouroboros with multiple heads eating its own multiple tails.”

    And that’s a nice little sample of what the narration’s like. There’s at least one car chase so awesome, it needs a Hans Zimmer soundtrack.

    If one were to compare overlook to the average thriller, it would be more like Adam Hall’s Quiller series — like with Hall’s work, there are moments when one reads along, there’s a cliffhanger, and then there’s a time skip, so the reader must keep going in order to find out what happened.

    Joe doesn’t have the powers of Superman, or the tech of Batman. He gets beaten up a lot. But unlike Jim Rockford, he makes certain that other people get beaten up alongside him.

    Additional props must be given to the design of the villain of the piece. They are freaking evil. Imagine a Dean Koontz villain… then tone down the mustache twirling to a reasonable level. Perhaps using CS Lewis’ N.I.C.E. from That Hideous Strength. The enemy here is no less evil, with similar methods and motivations. They’re anti-technology because technology makes it harder to control the masses, and their inquisitors look like a gender studies Umbrage of Rowling fame.

    The Phoenix Ring is less a reductio ad absurdum of a lot of current trends, and more like the logical outcome. They’re scary because we could look around and see exactly how they would be the end result of current events.

    As I said, they’re like a Dean Koontz or CS Lewis villain.

    Short version — if you’ve read the other Silver Empire novels, Overlook is a great continuation of the universe. If you haven’t read the previous works, this is an excellent stand alone novel.

    Get Overlook today

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