Book Excerpt: Starter Villain by John Scalzi

starter villain by john scalzi

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.

Please enjoy this free excerpt of Starter Villain by John Scalzi, on sale 9/19/23

Chapter 1

I learned about the death of my uncle Jake in a deeply unexpected way, which was from the CNBC Squawk Box morning show.

I had Squawk Box on from force of habit; when I was a business reporter for the Chicago Tribune I would turn it on in the mornings, in rotation with Bloomberg and Fox Business, while I and my wife Jeanine got ourselves ready for our respective days.

These days I had less need of it—substitute teachers do not usually need to be kept up on the state of the Asian markets in order to babysit a bunch of students in a seventh-grade English class— but old habits, it turns out, actually do die hard.

Thus it was, as I was preparing my peanut butter on toast, I heard the name “Jake Baldwin” from the iPad I had running on the kitchen island. I stopped mid-peanut-butter spread, knife in hand, as cohost Andrew Ross Sorkin announced that my uncle Jake, reclusive billionaire owner of the third-largest chain of parking structures in North America, had died of pancreatic cancer at the age of sixty-seven.

Copyright © 2023 from John Scalzi

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