Inheriting your uncle's supervillain business is more complicated than you might think. Particularly when you discover who's running the place.
Charlie's life is going nowhere fast. A divorced substitute teacher living with his cat in a house his siblings want to sell, all he wants is to open a pub downtown, if only the bank will approve his loan.
Then his long-lost uncle Jake dies and leaves his supervillain business (complete with island volcano lair) to Charlie.
But becoming a supervillain isn't all giant laser death rays and lava pits. Jake had enemies, and now they're coming after Charlie. His uncle might have been a stand-up, old-fashioned kind of villain, but these are the real thing: rich, soulless predators backed by multinational corporations and venture capital.
It's up to Charlie to win the war his uncle started against a league of supervillains. But with unionized dolphins, hyper-intelligent talking spy cats, and a terrifying henchperson at his side, going bad is starting to look pretty good.
In a dog-eat-dog world...be a cat.
Praise for Starter Villain
Scalzi's latest is a light-hearted story with a likeable fish-out-of-water protagonist and a lot of very smart cats. There's also a dolphin labor dispute, some truly awful techbros, and a volcano island lair... Who could resist?--Rebecca Roanhorse, author of Black Sun
“Combining the sarcastic humor of Scalzi’s Redshirts with an origin story for James Bond–like supervillains operating with the competence-porn-level efficiency and work ethic of Hench by Natalie Zina Walschots, this story of snark with a heart reminds readers that the logical conclusion of “dogs have owners, cats have staff” is that cats are management and never let anyone forget it. VERDICT: Readers of humorous fantasy are sure to love Scalzi’s latest as much as those cats; it’s also for those who enjoy seeing superhero stories folded, twisted, and mutilated and anyone wishing for a righteous villain lair surrounded by intelligent sharks. Highly recommended.” —Library Journal, Starred Review
“Scalzi again examines tropes in a tale of an ordinary individual being cast into an extraordinary situation with his trademark quick pacing, clever banter, and ability to find humor in desperate situations…. With a large print run and a clever premise, Scalzi’s latest will appeal to his legion of fans and draw in new ones.”—Booklist, Starred Review
“In this clever, fast-paced thriller, Hugo Award winner subverts classic supervillain tropes with equal measures of tongue-in-cheek humor and common sense… The result is a breezy and highly entertaining genre send-up.”—Publishers Weekly
"Classic Scalzi set pieces like a class of managerial cats or dolphins on strike – and moments when you will laugh so loudly you will wish you weren’t reading in public."--The New Scientist
"Witty dialogue, clever world-building and engaging secondary characters make this a satisfying escape from the real world. And of course, if you’ve got a feline companion, Starter Villain is a perfect lazy Cat-urday read."--Wall Street Journal
"Irreverent and subversive...with James Bond-level bad guys set in the everyday trudge of corporate life a la The Office."--Entertainment Weekly