Book Review: The Broker
Reviewed by Melissa Suggitt
A city on the brink of despair and one man who might be able to save them all
How does one become a vigilante hero? What sets a person on that path and how do they come to terms with that journey internally? How far would you go to save innocent people? And is that moral line easily crossed?
Author Blake Rasmussen delivers the answers to these questions and more in this fun debut novel. It introduces us to a masked crusader known as “The Broker”—the one who sends whispers through the criminal underworld of a demon who has come to punish them for their sins.
Overlook City has fallen on dark times—with a drug problem spread corner to corner and public terror at an all-time high—all thanks to the Gianni family and their goons. However, the tides of corruption flow deeper than one mafioso and his family. It is the way of life for members of the city’s elite, the Parthenon as they call themselves, who reap the benefits of the destruction of their own society.
Charlie Von Dusk left the city of Overlook years ago to forge his own path and work out his inner demons, away from his family’s name, away from the pressure to follow in their footsteps. But when tragedy befalls his parents, he returns to Overlook for their funeral and subsequently inherits Dusk Corp (their security empire) and their fortune.
As he navigates his new role, he attends the Parthenon meetings with his parents’ trusted partner, Dr. Reginald Nyke. Through these meetings, he begins to unravel the thread of corruption, to realize how deep it goes and how helpless the city has become; its police force unable to enact justice.
When Dr. Nyke discloses to Charlie that his parents’ accident was more than likely murder, he makes it his mission to discover the truth and stop the evil forces ruining Overlook City. With a purpose now laid out before him, equipped with a high-tech fighting suit and gadgets, and emboldened further by a scrappy young woman named Renee who wants to help bring justice to the city, Charlie begins his quest to bring down the Parthenon and the Giannis. Can he restore peace and order to his beloved city? Will he be able to overcome the dark voices in his head to accomplish this?
Part superhero novel, part mystery, and part introspective on one man’s struggle with his mental health, this novel keeps readers engaged and entertained down a path of revenge, justice, and some serious ass kicking.
Rasmussen’s writing is nicely paced, the mystery that is central to the plot unfolding seamlessly alongside some massive action. The result keeps the reader invested, wanting to solve the mystery alongside Charlie and hoping that our hero finds where he belongs in the process. The characters are well developed with a cast of wide-ranging personalities and quirks that lend to a dialogue that is at times witty, dark, sinister, and eventually, hopeful. The one-liners throughout the novel add levity to what could be a very dark story.
Packed with punches and laughs, this superhero novel balances fun, action, and drama effortlessly. Rasmussen has created a protagonist who could be a typical one-dimensional superhero by all accounts, but who instead feels vulnerable. As Charlie’s inner dialogue is exposed, it allows access to his struggles with his choices and what kind of person The Broker has turned him into. These reflections are what add a layer of complexity that isn’t easily achieved and has the reader questioning whether they too would be capable of toeing the moral line. It’s refreshing to see a light being shone on men’s mental health in genre fiction without it being the entire focus of the plot.
The Broker: Demon of Overlook is at its core the story of a man searching for purpose despite his own inner turmoil and finding it in the most unexpected of places and in the most unexpected of ways. Fans of DC Comics and The Dark Knight in particular would enjoy this one.
Genre: Science Fiction & Fantasy / Superhero
Print Length: 427 pages
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