Panopolis is a rough place to be an average Joe. I came here looking for adventure and excitement, but nobody cares about one more normal guy in a city filled with super-powered heroes. The closest I've come to glory is working in a bank that villains often rob.
But then I maybe accidentally-on-purpose helped a villain escape the hero who was trying to save the day. Imagine my shock when, a week later, that villain asked me out for coffee. One date turned into more, and now I'm head over heels in love with Raul.
Falling in love with the guy dubbed the Mad Bombardier isn't without its downsides, though. I've had to deal with near-death encounters with other villains, awkwardly flirtatious heroes who won't take no for an answer, and a lover I'm not sure I can trust. It's getting to the point where I know I'll have to make a choice: side with the heroes, or stand fast by my villain.
Either way, I think my days as a normal guy are over.
©2015 Cari Z (P)2017 Riptide Publishing
I'm an unabashed fiction fan: mostly M/M, Romance, Erotica, Suspense, Thrillers, Action, NA/YA genres.
Interesting premise and a good start to the world building, but it needed more time to build.
It also lacked in the relationship building. Edward and Raul had so much of their relationship off page. I would have liked to have seen more time with them as a couple doing couple things around town, etc.
Mostly though, I can't say I loved the cliffhanger ending. Grr.
What I did love was Nick J. Russo's narration. 5 Stars for the narration! His character voices brought this short story to life and definitely kept me enthralled.
I'm looking forward to the next story in the series, and finding out all the wicked truths about Panopolis...but I think I'll wait to catch it on audio.
Reviewer for Delighted Reader Blog
'Average Joe' Edward falls for a Super Villain and his life becomes anything, but ordinary. I love 'Super' stories and comic book plots so this was a load of fun. There is intrigue and an unlikely romance to give it some depth for all that it was a quick read and beginning of a series.
Where There's Smoke begins when Edward is a teller at the bank when a robbery happens. The Mad Bombadier is in the process of robbing the bank. For all his curiosity about the supers that make Panapolis home, this is the first time he's seen one up close. He is fascinated by the polite villain, but then things get a bit tense when superhero, Freight Train arrives. Edward couldn't explain what made him do it, but he provided the means for the Mad Bombadier to halt Freight Train and make his escape.
This leads to him meeting up with Raoul and deciding to date a super villain. Edward knows that Raoul might be The Mad Bombadier, but he is careful with people's lives and doesn't act like the others. But then things get real when a robbery goes wrong. Edward lashes out and then ends up complicating matters when Freight Train is interested in him. The truth comes out and consequences are huge for Edward.
So this went by quickly and I enjoyed an average guy as the central figure of the story. He's in awe of the supers, but then learns the real guy inside the villain costume and comes to love him. I did love Edmund's story, but I confess my favorite part were those blog posts at the beginning of each chapter by a conspiracy reporter that were apropos to what was going on behind the scenes. I love the wry wit and broad hints of intrigue.
I had an audio edition and one of my favorite narrators, Nick J Russo made the world and characters of Panapolis come alive. I enjoyed his range of emotion and grasp of the story tone.
So this is the beginning and after that stunning ending, I can't wait to see what comes next. M/M Sci-fi and Comic Book Superheroes fans will get a kick out of this one I think.
What an imagination! I have to say, that for a person who doesn’t care too much about graphic novels/comic books – I was suitably impressed with the world building we get here in Cari Z’s series – Panopolis. I imagine that fans of that genre will probably get even more of a kick out of this series.
This is short – only 2 hours listening time – and I gather from looking down the line that our MCs really just begin their journey with this story.
What I liked: the quirky way living in a “super hero” land is portrayed and the fact that the “villain” is the “hero”. I liked that Joe is really, average. I don’t know much about him yet, but I think I like the Mad Bombardier (although I’m not crazy about the moniker). I loved Nick J Russo’s narration – he does a great job giving everyone suitably “comic book” voices where appropriate and yet doesn’t go OTT.
What I didn’t like: the romance. It went from meeting to a coffee date to months later (I had to go back and re-listen to see if my audio was messed up!). I really wanted to see the romance and watch the first kiss and feel them fall for one another. I didn’t love the voice Nick chose for Raul – it was too smarmy and didn’t feel “boyfriend-like”.
All in all, I probably won’t be continuing with this series. I thought it was creative and fun, but the romance is what does it for me and that seems to take a back seat in this story.
3 of 5 stars for the story
4 of 5 stars for the narration
3.5 of 5 stars overall
Report Inappropriate Content