Clown Lives Matter in Legacy: Laughing Matter

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I have been waiting for the 6th book in the LEGACY series for a long time.  As I have mentioned in the past, LEGACY is a spin-off from THE DESTROYER series.  I am a long time fan of THE DESTROYER, and new series writer RJ Carter did a terrific job with his first book in the series, BULLY PULPIT.  But, I have to admit that I like the LEGACY books even more.   They take the brilliant world of THE DESTROYER and flesh it out to a whole new level.

Legacy, Book 6 - Laughing Matter by Warren Murphy and Gerald Welch
Paperback - $10.99
Kindle - $4.49
Published by  Destroyer Books
177 Pages

LAUGHING MATTER starts with a prologue filling us in on an important part of THE DESTROYER's history.  When faced with moral danger, we have seen Remo Williams and his daughter Freya both able to channel the power of the god Shiva, which usually results in mass murder.  The prologue tells us that their ancestor Nonga made a deal with Shiva in order to help him take down a young girl who had been possessed by Kali.   Nonga's bad deal passed this curse on down his bloodline. 

Today, a scientist named Kwame Afolayan has come to America to continue his experiments with turning people into radioactive powered "homo magis."  One of the side effects of this process is that it turns people's hair orange, so with their white face paint, they look like crazed clowns.  Kwame is trying to turn blacks into a new master race and CURE sends Stone and Freya to take him down.  But Kwame is being manipulated from behind the scenes by CURE's evil counterpart VIGIL.

I absolutely loved the opening chapter.  Shiva has always been a big question mark in this series, and seeing that other gods seem to be doing the same manipulations opens some huge doors.  I was also real curious if it was intentional that the girl who was possessed by Kali was using white face paint just like Kwame's followers.  I suspect yes. 

What makes LEGACY so different from DESTROYER is that it feels like much more of a serial.  THE DESTROYER books tend to be much more "done in one."  There aren't a lot of supporting characters that stick around, and Remo tends to finish off most of his enemies pretty thoroughly by the end of each book. 

LEGACY on the other hand has built up a strong supporting cast.  As much as I love Stone and Freya, I also like reading about their grandfather, Sunny Joe, trying to keep control of the Sinanju Indian tribe.  Even the relationship between Sunny Joe's friend Dale (who is dying of cancer) and his wife is portrayed very well.   I love the moral issues with how much Sunny Joe is willing to bend the rules of Sinanju to help his friend and protect his grandchildren.  At the same time, Stone and Freya's handler has some serious concerns about Freya's ability to handle missions, not to mention the little matter that she may have slaughtered a whole village in the last book.  There is so much going on that makes me anxious to read the next book as soon as I finish.

 

 

Seeing VIGIL return at the end of this book was a great surprise.  It made the book feel like it was part of something much bigger, and I absolutely loved that.  We also get some teases about stories to come, which is great.  Kwame was also really well developed character.  At first his story reminded me a bit of Iron Man, a scientist who was being forced to work for a tyrant and decided to use his invention to let his escape, but he quickly showed himself to be a real monster.  I thought this was a brilliant twist.  

THE DESTROYER series is known for its satire towards, and this book continued that proud tradition.  There were some genuinely funny laugh out loud moments with this books' parody of college activism.  A lot of people tend to consider me a liberal, but I have no problem laughing at the more absurd members of society, no matter what their political leaning. 

I did have one small issue with this book.  I do like that Freya and Stone don't always succeed in their missions.  But this time, they didn't even seem to need to be there for the end.  They are dispatched to protect two presidential candidates at a debate, allowing Kwame to steal a plane to return to his home country and stage a coup.  Kwame ends up dying to be replaced by his brother who seems determined to expand the "Homo Magis" program.  It sets up big things in the future, but I still thought it was odd that we didn't get a final confrontation between Stone, Freya, and Kwame.  It felt a little anti-climatic.

Sadly, LAUGHING MATTER was the last LEGACY book co-written by DESTROYER's creator Warren Murphy who passed away in 2015.  Gerald Welch wrote a beautiful eulogy to Murphy as the foreword to this book. Having read Welch's other big series, THE LAST WITNESS, LEGACY's future is in the right hands.  Plus, we still have RJ Carter killing it on the main series (NEXT BOOK, PLEASE!!).  It's a great time to be a DESTROYER fan!

Grade: 
4.5 / 5.0