Death Draws Five, by John Jos. Miller

Second paragraph of third chapter:

It certainly wasn’t his brain. If he’d thought about it at all, he’d have run away from the flying bullets. Whatever it was that made him accompany Ray was something deeper in his make-up. His heart. Perhaps his gut. His reaction was more instinctive than rational. Jerry would have sighed to himself if he’d had the time. He’d always considered himself a smart guy, and this was just crazy.

A full-length novel in GRRM’s Wild Cards series, which I got in the same Humble Bundle as the Amber prequels. The setting is a roughly contemporary America decades after thousands were infected with a virus that gave them varying superhero powers. A former President and a dissident wing of the Vatican believe that the child of two such “Aces” is the Messiah reborn, or possibly the Antichrist. It’s tricky to handle this topic in pulp format, but Miller makes a good fist of it.

Unfortunately I’m going to complain again about the formatting of the electronic book. Most of the chapter headings have been displaced to the end of the book, as a weird appendix, and that means the text is not broken up helpfully for the reader. The publisher, iBooks, folded before the paper version of the book went on general release, but that’s no excuse. It’s not as bad as the Zelazny collection, but it’s not good.

You can get the Tor re-release here; hopefully it won’t have the same problem.

This was the SF book that had lingered longest unread on my shelves. Next is another Wild Cards book, Deuces Down, an anthology edited by Miller.