What starts with a horrifying killing spree turns into a story about specially powered teens and adults and their alienation from society in this hefty story by Bob Proehl. Avi is a reporter who’s always chasing the the big story, at the expense of his marriage and his faltering relationship with his young daughter, Emmeline. An assignment in Iraq cost him his leg, and while he recuperates at home, a phone call from a police contact starts Avi off on the hunt again: a teenage boy has seemingly disappeared a chunk of a shopping mall food court and a church. How? As Avi begins an investigation into the case, he discovers that superpowered people walk among us, and that his precocious Emmeline is one, too. From there, we get what reads like a dark X-Men alternate universe, complete with a school for Resonants (the name given to the special-powered) run by a benevolent gentleman named Bishop, and a rebellious group of by-any-means-necessary Resonants, with a shadowy player pulling strings behind the scenes. Avi becomes more of a backdrop character to history as the clash between Resonants and “Damps”, as non-powered folks are called, becomes more tense and leads to a violent conclusion.
There’s an incredible amount of character development and world-building in The Nobody People, and the cast is diverse, making characters of color and gender identity primary characters, rather than relegating them to background or “friends” parts. The first half of the book is by far the stronger half, as the second half of the book gets caught up in itself, changing up a strong subplot to rapidly switch gears and justify the inevitable conflict at the conclusion. Overall, I enjoyed The Nobody People and think dedicated SFF (Sci-Fi Fantasy) readers will like it.