Grim_Noir: With the Lois Lane Novels, the Third Time Is the Charmer

 

LL-TripleThreat-cover

Title: Lois Lane: TRIPLE THREAT

Writer: Gwenda Bond

Jacket and book design: Bob Lentz

Published by Capstone/Switch Press

Reviewed by Grim_Noir

Sixteen-year-old army brat Lois Lane is back and once again itching for a fresh by-line. Her high school life in Metropolis has settled into a manageable routine, but what she really loves is her afterschool job at The Daily Scoop, the online arm of The Daily Planet. She also seriously loves her fellow online “Flying Man” conspiracy theorist, SmallvilleGuy, who, as TRIPLE THREAT opens, is making plans to come to Metropolis (with his parents) and meet SkepticGirl1 IRL. And SkepticGirl1 (a.k.a. Lois) would be very, very pleased to meet her SmallvilleGuy F2F…, if only it weren’t for the three metahuman teens threatening to make her one of them…

She was given the violet eyes of Elizabeth Taylor and the attitude of real-life crusading journalist Nellie Bly, so it is clear that creators Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster never intended Lois Lane to be just the “damsel-in-distress.” Young Adult novelist Gwenda Bond has spent two previous books establishing Lois as a flawed, but very independent investigative reporter. She has made her own group of friends and fellow reporters at the Scoop: the over-privileged James, hacker Devin, and musician-turned-fashionista Maddy. Which is why I tensed when the story opened with Superboy himself, the SmallvilleGuy, making plans to come to the big city. While Lois’ and Clark’s relationship had definitely progressed to the point where they and their parents should meet, it also threatened to take this series into the formulaic “Lois-gets-herself-into-a-deathtrap-and-needs-to-be-rescued-by-Clark.”

Shrewdly, Bond has created an on-going plotline since the first book (Lois Lane: FALLOUT) which neuters most of Clark’s powers. The U.S. military, spear-headed by Sam Lane, is ruthlessly searching for the “Kansas Flying Man” and they are not afraid to harass everyone they can I.D. on the “Strange Skies” website, where Lois and Clark met. Clark must keep his powers muted or risk exposure.


“…’Hello,’ he said, ‘Alexander Luthor, pleased to make your acquaintances in the flesh. You can call me Alex…'”

from “Lois Lane: TRIPLE THREAT” by Gwenda Bond

Add into the mix the disintegrating relationship between Dante and Maddy (Lois’ best friend). Plus, Lois suspects that the moderator of “Strange Skies” may be giving member names directly to the military.

Bond’s writing remains at a slightly lower level than her target audience, but the mysteries and her pacing keep getting better and better. This time around, her dangerous situations are not bubble-wrapped; things feel like they could kill or mutilate Lois or her personal Scooby gang. That sense of personal risk makes TRIPLE THREAT into a true thriller, with legitimate thrills.

WIth TRIPLE THREAT, Gwenda Bond transitions smoothly from world-building into universe-expanding. Lois and her supporting cast (family, friends, and even people who genuinely hate her and The Daily Scoop) have begun to feel like slipping into a comfy sweater on a winter evening. Metropolis, itself, has begun to live and breathe; filled with unique characters and a distinct style to its citizens. But, even better, these characters feel very natural interacting with each other, even when Lois is not around.

Gwenda Bond

 

Ol' Grim Hisself

* GRIM_NOIR is convinced that the internet is a figment of his imagination. Please comment below and/or follow @Grim_Noir on Twitter or Friend on Good Reads or Facebook to end his self-delusions. He would also like anyone who reads this far to know that Switch Press is giving away two free downloads of Lois Lane short stories by Gwenda Bond. (He’s sneaky that way.)

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