“John W. Otte leads a double life. By day he’s a Lutheran minister. By night, he writes weird stories.”
Failstate is kind of weird. Robin Laughlin aka Failstate and Robin’s brother Ben aka Gauntlet are both unlicensed superheroes. Failstate is a “cognit” who can mess with the power grid. The theory is that Failstate’s super-power can create “a potential failstate within covalent bonds at a molecular level.” Gauntlet is a “strapper”, a hero with lots of muscle.
Both of the brothers are competing in a reality TV show. The winner gets a real superhero license if he or she is voted best superhero in the show. Unfortunately, Robin/Failstate is pretty sure that the winner is not going to be him.
Soon, real life and real crime collide with the fantasy crime competition on TV, and Failstate must decide how to avenge his friend’s death, whom to trust, and how much protecting his secret identity is worth. Is it worth more lives? What if he has to lose the competition and his secrets to gain his ultimate goal, the protection of innocent citizens?
Failstate was just nominated as a finalist for the Christy Awards in the category of Young Adult Books, along with Child of the Mountains by Marilyn Sue Shank and Interrupted: A Life Beyond Words by Rachel Coker. I think Failstate is a worthy competitor, both the character in the book and the novel in the Christy Awards.