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You Must Read This: Madcap Superhero Edition

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LJ Cohen



I don't write official reviews. That's a choice I made after I published my first novel as it feels like a kind of conflict of interest, especially when reading books in the spec fic world where I hang my own writing hat. (Other authors feel differently, and I respect that.)

What I will do is evangelize about books I've read and loved. Today I want to talk about The Brothers Jetstream and its author, Zig Zag Claybourne.

I met Clarence Young (Claybourne's cover identity) at Boskone 2019. What caught my eye was this incredible purple greatcoat he was wearing.

Readers, I coveted it. Hard.

But I didn't have the over 6' tall frame or the gravitas to have pulled it off. So I struck up a conversation with the man instead and ended up buying his book, The Brothers Jetstream: Leviathan.

Why, you ask?

The purple coat may have reeled me in, but when Young described his novel as his homage to one of my hands-down favorite movies ever -- Buckaroo Banzai -- it was a no brainer.

This delightful, chaotic, romp of a novel engaged me from start to finish.  I normally race through books, but I forced myself to savor this one slowly and was rewarded by my patience because I got to spend more time with Milo and Ramses Jetstream and their brilliant rag tag crew.

Telling you what this book is about is almost besides the point. Yes, there are the eponymous superhero brothers. There are also sentient whales, vampires, Alanteans, mysterious cabals, an arch enemy (The False Prophet Buford), the leviathan who was there at the start of the universe, mystics, psychics, angels, clones, Djinn  and so much more.

The ten-thousand foot view of the plot is simple: the world is in peril. The brothers and their crew need to save it "one last damned time." The execution of this wondrous novel is anything but simple. Don't expect a paint-by-numbers plot: the cast of characters is large (and all delightfully named!), the pace is fast and furious. Young, AKA Claybourne, drops us into his fertile imagination and leaves us there to sink or swim. But if you're up for an adventure, dive in. You won't be disappointed.

I could absolutely see Buckaroo Banzai wanting to hang out with the Brothers Jetstream. I know I do.

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