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False Idols  By  cover art

False Idols

By: Mark Damon Brooks
Narrated by: Jacob Rapport
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Publisher's Summary

Superheroes exist. 

Fifteen years ago, a freak accident transformed four people into the world's first, and only, super humans. The Newton Force. Led by the brilliant Dr. Newton, the superhero team is now worshiped by millions. Is their adoration undeserved? Malcolm Mills believes so. Years ago he lost friends due to The Newton Force's negligence. 

On the 15th anniversary of the team's transformation, Malcolm loses another friend in a brazen attack conducted by a low level villain. Like clockwork, The Newton Force show up afterwards, give their condolences, sign some autographs, then zip off to a parade in their honor. Now it's up to Malcolm to find the criminal who killed his friend. A criminal who is rapidly evolving from villain to supervillain. What he discovers will blur the line between good and evil. 

Superheroes exist. But it will take a normal man to remind everyone what it really means to be a hero.

©2021 Mark Damon Brooks (P)2022 Mark Damon Brooks

What listeners say about False Idols

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

The Boys meets Fantastic Four with...

I picked this up because I love superhero stories. Especially those with a nice twist. This was not your Marvel superhero tale. In fact, there were a lot of close references to stories like The Boys, Fantastic Four, and some hints of Renegades. While it was often predictable, the story was still incredibly entertaining. Jacob Rapport did an AMAZING job giving these characters depth and personality in his narration! Honestly, I think if I read the book instead of listened to it, I'm not sure how far I would have gotten. But the narrator really makes this story great.

I recommend listening to this audiobook to anyone who enjoys a superhero story. Though there is some cursing and PG13 violence, so it isn't for younger kids.

1 person found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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fun

Story: 3.5⭐️
Audio: 3.75⭐️

Malcolm Miles is an ex-military man who blames the loss of his squadron on the negligence of The Newton Force, a “Fantastic Four”-esque team of superhumans that seem more interested in toy sales than protecting humanity . Now working as a guard for a cash courier service, all of Malcolm’s rage and antipathy towards TNF is rekindled when his partner is murdered during a heist and TNF shows up for a photo op. Given that the team hasn’t been in the business of saving people for years, Malcolm decides he’s going to have to find the culprit himself.

Camron (AKA Condor), is frustrated by his team’s existence as corporate commodities; the team “doesn’t do the crimefighting thing anymore”, haven’t for almost a decade. He misses the adrenaline rush he gets from fighting crime and sees Magneteer’s attack as a perfect opportunity for them to get back in the game. Major Katherine Gibbs feels similarly; After a decade of inactivity, Gibb’s job as the liaison between the Dept. of Superhuman Affairs (DSA) and US military mostly consists of paperwork and being the “unofficial babysitter of the world’s most powerful babies”. She misses the action, but there’s also something about Magneteer’s attack that seems off ,and she can’t let it go. Soon Malcom, Gibbs and TNF are on Magneteer’s trail, but being heroes doesn’t come without a cost.

“False Idols” is a superhero story that focuses on its characters’ humanity rather than superpowers or heroic showdowns. It explores what (if anything) people with power owe to others, especially if that power wasn’t asked for; whether the expectations placed upon people with powers are fair; and how quickly humans choose to put those they deem special on a pedestal, simultaneously worshiping them and stripping them of their humanity and ignoring their trauma in the process. I like Brooks’ take on superhumans and the lack of equally powered supervillains; the members of TNF Condor (team flyer), The Seer (a telepath), Dazzler (The Thing composed of diamond-like material instead of rock) and Dr.Newton (Reed Richards in the body of Superman) are created in a lab accident.The creation of TNF led to people creating exoskeleton (Exo) suits to give themselves power and strength as well. While the rise in Exos in the ranks of criminals, terrorists, etc. make these groups harder to deal with, there isn’t a rise in world domination schemes or human destruction typical to these types of stories, just simple human suckiness (at least until Magneteer arrives).

“False Idols” is written in 3rd person limited and shifts between Malcolm, Gibbs and Cameron. The pacing is brisk, flows well and doesn’t have large info dumps. At times though, it’s almost too fast and doesn’t allow much room for organic change/character development. As non-POV characters, Dazzler and The Seer spend most of their time in the story being the avatars for the team’s trauma. Of the POV characters, Cameron is the least developed—a cocky charmer who likes the plaudits and the action.His desire to help people is motivated mostly from missing the action and “epic fights”. Gibbs is given enough depth through details about her family and career to be likeable and is shown to be smart, competent and cool under pressure.However, there isn’t much space in the narrative to give the characters any personal traits, just ones related to their narrative purpose. Additionally, bonds/friendships happen in the space of a panel, making major changes of heart nice, but a bit unearned.

As the main POV character, Malcolm is decently developed with clear motivations; yet for someone who “exudes military” and was a well-trained and competent soldier, many of his actions say otherwise. For example, he knowingly heads into a bad area looking for clues about Magneteer with no plan and no weapons of any kind, not even a simple K-bar; he throws a tantrum when TNF and Gibbs want to coordinate with the DSA when they all discover clues about Magneteer’s whereabouts as if he hasn’t spent years following a chain of command, dealing with government bureaucracy and not flying off the deep end even when emotionally compromised. It feels like Brooks made Malcolm ex-military as a tool for his motivation and to convey an idea of his toughness and skills to the reader without actually incorporating what that means in regards to Malcolm’s character and actions. Maybe he was always a hot head, but the reader isn’t shown anything to suggest this and his demeanor and character traits speak to the opposite.

I think the tantrums also seem out of character because of Jacob Rapport’s voice work. Rapport does deliver a solid narration, but since Malcolm’s voice falls into the range similar to Rapport’s narration tenor, in the scenes where Malcolm is having a fit, the higher pitch Rapport uses makes me envision an enraged teenager. However, Rapport’s choices for all the character voices fit them. Rapport also does a great job conveying the tone of the story in his cadence and hitting the more satirical and meta beats. He isn’t quite as strong when it comes to the handful of times a deeper, more serious emotion is being expressed, but as the story moves so fast, it almost doesn’t matter.

Overall, “False Idols” is a solid and enjoyable debut.There are a couple of plot threads left dangling, but since a sequel is possible maybe they will be dealt with later? If you’re a huge comic deconstructionist and prefer stories à la “The Watchmen”, “The Dark Knight Returns”, etc. this may not be to your taste as its themes, tropes and moments of lamp-shading are very familiar and somewhat surface level. Plus, its more reconstructionist in nature as the ending is hopeful in regards to the future of its superhumans and Malcolm. However, if you are looking for more light superhero fare that’s fast-paced and fun with an interesting take on what would happen in a world with superhumans, you may enjoy the audio of “False Idols”.
I voluntarily reviewed a copy of this audiobook provided by Audioboom.

1 person found this helpful

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Not my usual genre, but I loved it

I don't normally prefer this type of book. I heard good things about this one so I gave it a shot. It was absolutely fantastic. It kept my attention the whole time and I didn't know what was coming next. Highly recommend!

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Lazy Supers Pushed to the Brink

The premise of this one is that there are 4 superheroes that used to help protect and serve but they have primarily become public figureheads. Criminals build suits to mimic super powers and the government builds there own to fight them since the supers have stepped back. The main character in the book is a retired military guy that drives an armored money truck with his friend, they get ambushed by a mech-suited villian and his friend gets killed. He begins investigating to bring the bad guy to justice and the supers get drawn in too. Overall, the story was good but not always very realistic to life (which I guess is fine), it just felt a little too forced or predictable in spots.

Parents: PG13-R - there is a lot of bad language including some F-bombs and then the violence was really pretty graphic. This is not for younger readers.

The narrator did a great job and I did really enjoy listening to him.

—I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

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"It's always the dead guy."

The Newton Force were four superheros, brought into being by an accident, and still idolized as crime fighters by most of the population. But not by Malcolm, who'd experienced first hand their failure to arrive until after they were needed, and not once, but everytime. When his friend and coworker is killed by a criminal in an exoskeleton suit which gave him super powers, once again the Force were too late. This is a great story, well told, mostly in the first person but with a shifting perspective, clearly differentiated to avoid any confusion. Characters, especially that of Malcom are well developed and burst into life in the latter part of the book. All great fun.

Narration by Jacob Rapport, is smooth, well paced and pleasant on the ear. With good character voice differentiation, he also involves himself in the emotional excitement taking the listener right into the story with him. A good performance.

I am often wary of comic book hero stories which can have just action with too little substance. Not this book. It rather turns the super hero tale on it's head, instead p!acing an ordinary, if angry, man into the super league ahead of those with the powers. My deep thanks to the rights holder of False Idols who, at my request freely gifted me with a complimentary copy via Audiobook Boom. I thoroughly enjoyed it and recommend it to all who enjoy comic hero thrillers - and even those who don't. .

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Imaginative

"False Idols" (2021) by Mark Damon Brooks is an imaginative novel about a young ex-military man’s interaction with the only super-powered superheroes on earth. They attempt to stop a murderous, villainous genius who has developed a suit that gives him artificial super powers. The four superhero teammates are super-flawed, reluctant heroes who haven’t fought crime in ten years. The story’s perspective shift from first to third person makes the tale uneven. Jacob Rapport’s narration is effective. Solidly recommended. At my request, I was given this free audiobook and have voluntarily left this review.

Kelvin L. Reed, Author
"Guilt by Association"

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Nice take

This is a different, and interesting take on super hero worlds. I really enjoyed it. One family is powerful, and humanity tries to emulate them. Well done.

I received a copy of this book at my request in exchange for a fair review.

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Hero's, and Mystery!

Not Sure what I was expecting when I got this book, But a more mystery kind of book was not it, highly entertaining Immediately loved the MC and could put my self in his shoes, I'm looking forward to more book in this world!

I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

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  • W.
  • 05-13-21

Not "The Boys" but still....

I was hoping that this book wouldn't be another version of "The Boys", because I found that mostly gratuitous gore gets to be boring fairly quickly, and it isn't. However, that doesn't mean that this book is beyond criticism. The premise is that there is only one group of four super heros in the world. There are many exoskeleton-wearing criminals but this doesn't matter because the super heros aren't in the super hero business any more. They just stopped trying to combat crime and yet the public still loves them??? No. That wouldn't work in real life.

One of the main characters is an armoured cash delivery vehicle driver. His friend has killed by their negligence years ago and this situation is repeated in the beginning of the book. Shortly after that he's buddies with one of the supers and just accepted by the team. No. That's not how real life works.

There is a federal organisation that monitors the supers. One of their agents encounters the armoured vehicle driver at a site where guards have been killed and although he gets arrested the driver is soon released and the agency is just fine with his involvement. No. That's not how real life works.

Through-out the book there are many situations in which the author could've made one of several decisions but somehow chooses the worst cliche or just the least likely situation.

I completed the book but I found it mostly ridiculous.

I received a free copy of this book and chose to write a review.

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  • Lifestealer
  • 05-15-21

Good story, pulls you in, wanting more

This book was given to me for free at my request and I provided this voluntary review.

This book drew me in very effectively, so I'm now looking forward to the next book in the series. There are a lot of tropes used well, and others that seem to have been being set up only to be averted skillfully. A lot of world building is provided by the context of the story, giving a rich world that has plenty more to explore without having all (or even most) of these things explicitly described as well, which works nicely.

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  • Julie
  • 05-12-21

Nothing false about this book

I loved this book. I really liked the author's take on the super hero world, it certainly makes for an entertaining and unusual listen.The fact that the real super hero of the story was the one without super powers added to the story especially as he was a like able, down to earth sort of guy and the only one to call the hero's out on there selfish actions. The story is told by three of the characters, Malcolm the civilian fed up with losing friends, Cameron the flyer on the team and the only one to care that they always arrive to late to help and Gibbs the liaison between the hero's and the military, this really works well for the story as each character has there own part to play in stopping the super villain, together they make a fun, witty, unstoppable team. It is defiantly a series and author I will be keeping a close eye on.
Malcolm as war veteran has seen his share of action but the last thing he expected was to get caught up in it at work. With his friend left for dead by a low level villain the last thing he wants to see is the only super hero team in the world, The Newton Force swoop down for a photo opportunity after it is all over. Enough is enough and if the hero's can't or won't do anything then he will. But just how does a normal human stop what could turn out to be a super villain? Malcolm doesn't care he will cross that bridge once he finds him. At the same time Cameron, the flyer on the team, is feeling less and less like a hero and more like a tv commercial, he longs for the days when the team actually leave there headquarters for something other than another parade in there honour. Can he convince the rest of the team that there might be a new dangerous player in town? And if he can't can he at least help Malcolm to get the justice he needs for his friend?
I really liked the narrator. He had a really nice speaking voice that was like music to the ears.
I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.