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The third book by David Wong and the first not in his ''John Dies at the End series. Taking place 20 Minutes into the Future the book features a young woman named Zoey Ashe, whose Millionaire Playboy father just passed away. Now Zoey, who lived in a trailer park and had nothing to do with her father, is on the run from all sorts of superpowered thugs who want to kidnap her because she is apparently the key to her fathers vault.


Provides examples of:

  • Above the Influence: Armando resists Zoey's advances at first.
  • Absurdly Sharp Blade: It seems like the sword Wu gives to Armando is one. In reality Armando just uses his Raiden implants for the first time.
  • Action Girl: Vixxxen seems to be one for the League of Badass.
  • Action Survivor: Zoey doesn't know how to fight. But she's really good at running away, and, failing that, exploiting her enemy's weaknesses to buy herself time.
  • Admiring the Abomination / Distracted by the Sexy: the first thing Zoey does when she sees a video of Molech? Check out his abs.
  • A God Am I: MOLECH specifically says he has the powers of a god and plans to destroy two places of worship to taunt people who believe in gods.
  • The Alcoholic: Andre. Also Will to an extent.
  • All Men Are Perverts: Mentioned by Andre in reference to Arthur's hologram that answers the door.
  • Amazingly Embarrassing Parents: Zoey's mother insists on her taking cranberry pills to avoid getting a UTI even though there is a good chance Zoey is going to her death.... and works as a stripper at a Zombie-themed topless bar.
  • Angry White Man: Molech's personality, role and motivation. He does admire black people, but only because slavery made them tougher than white people, which raises some Unfortunate Implications for his Black Best Friend Scott.
  • Artificial Limbs: Common among the Raiden-enhanced supersoldiers. The serial killer stalking Zoey gives himself an artificial jaw, later.
  • Atrocious Alias: The serial killer hunting Zoey constantly renames himself. None of the names are particularly cool or threatening.
  • Big Brother Is Watching: Subverted. Tabula Ra$a is completely devoid of government, but nearly every member of the public has a recording device of some kind.
  • Big Eater: Andre seems to be one.
  • Black and Grey Morality: The Suits and their deceased boss Arthur are not good people, having dabbled in sex trafficking, allowing the city to fall into decay while they live like kings and Arthur conceived Zoey with a 16-year-old stripper when he was in his 30s. That being said, they have the potential to make things better under Zoey's management, while Molech's gang are terrorists in the truest sense of the word.
  • Black Best Friend: Black Scott to Molech.
  • The Chessmaster: Will Blackwater but Zoey helps with the grand finale
  • Cool Car: The Bugatti. The mobile command station probably also counts.
    Zoey: Is that an expensive one?
    Armando: This is a 2020 Bugatti Chiron. Fifteen hundred horsepower, widely thought to be the apex of the gasoline-powered automobile. Only thirty of them were manufactured. At top speed it gets three miles to the gallon, which means you could get a five-hundred-dollar ticket just for being caught driving it today."
    Zoey: Looks pretty cool.
    Armando: This, Zoey, is a twenty-million-dollar car.
    Zoey: Oh. Wow. I bet the insurance is outrageous.
  • Corporate Samurai: Wu
  • Disgusting Public Toilet: Mentioned twice by Echo, first the bathroom in the mold room, second the public bathrooms at Arthur's memorial. It's possible that Echo is just a bit of a germaphobe.
  • Everything's Better with Monkeys: Singh uses a Chimp to demonstrate Raiden to Arthur.
  • Evil Gloating: Played with when the Hyena catches up to Zoey in Livingston's mansion. He tries. But Zoey's not having it, and shouts over him until he gives up and charges her.
    Zoey: "DOO DOO DOO DOO NOBODY CAN HEAR YOUR EVIL MONOLOGUE AND CREATIVE RAPE THREATS! BUTT SHOW, BUTT SHOW BABY—"
  • Feeling Oppressed by Their Existence: Molech and his goons hate anyone who isn't superhuman.
  • Five-Man Band : The Suits.
  • Foreshadowing: Everyone in Blink's obsessive need to tape everything, and the Hyena's specific need to kill Zoey for an audience after dramatically monologuing (to the point that Armando has time to shoot him while he's trying to get his camera back), foreshadow Molech's biggest weakness: He's a diva.
  • Forgettable Character: Gary the Gardener
  • Friend to All Living Things: Wu. At one point Zoey asks where he is, and is told that he found a spider; he gently took the spider and brought it outside.
  • Goofy Print Underwear: Zoey bemoans the fact that she is going to die in Underwear that say 'Shark Week' across the butt.
  • Hate Sink: Molech. The guy embodies all the traits of fratbros, MRAs, popular jocks and trust fund manboys, culminating in an entity that's just begging for a punch.
  • Hodgepodge Computer: The scientists who put together Raiden used programming languages that 'don't look human', making their final work completely impenetrable to outsiders.
  • Kindhearted Cat Lover: Despite her lack of refinement, Zoey is the only character who maintains a sense of compassion for the sake of compassion. In the event of her death, she repeatedly tells the suits to find her cat Stench Machine a good home.
  • Kiss Me, I'm Virtual: Candi, the stripper hologram at the Livingston Estate.
  • Mr. Vice Guy: Arthur Livingston.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Armando. After getting the gold update for his implants, he goes into Molech's base alone. While he initially looks like a One-Man Army, he is eventually killed by a stray bullet to the throat. Molech's tech expert is able to download the gold from Armando's dead body, making him and his men virtually unstoppable.
  • Only Sane Man: Black Scott is one for Molech's group.
  • Politically Incorrect Villain: Molech enjoys threatening Zoey with gang-rape when he's not making fun of her weight. His views on black people also make his henchmen cringe a few times.
  • Phlebotinum Breakdown: The Raiden tech implants were stolen with only the Alpha software in them, before the final "Gold" software was uploaded. Thus, each use of the implants carries a serious risk of malfunction, which usually causes the subject to explode.
  • Really Gets Around: Seems to run in the Livingston family.
  • Reality Ensues: For a science fiction novel, it features quite a few examples.
    • Just because you can bite through metal doesn't mean you should, Hyena. He cuts up the insides of his mouth every time he does.
    • Even graduates of the Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy will score a hit occasionally... just ask Armando.
    • The Suits tend to point this out to Zoey whenever she brings up ideas about getting altruistic with her newfound riches. Sure, she can order pizza for an entire complex of homeless squatters, but will that really help them in the long run?
  • Red Baron: All of The Suits have earned unique badass titles: Budd is "The Regulator," Andre is "Black Mountain," Echo is actually known more by her nickname than her actual name (Michelle) and Will is "The Magician." Zoey discovers she's actually earned one of these herself: Cat Boobs.
  • Red Herring: Once Molech slips that there's a mole among the suits, the book takes pains to point out suspicious behavior among pretty much every member. Echo is the newest member of the group, Will describes a manipulation tactic that perfectly matches a stunt Budd and Andre pulled, and Wu disappears to get rid of a spider right before an important meeting. Once it's revealed that it was Gary the Gardener the entire time, all of these become obvious red herrings.
  • Right-Hand Cat: Stench Machine. Andre uses a whole bunch as part of the plan to thwart Molech.
  • Sex Slave: Arthur Livingston trafficked women from the Orient into America in exchange for their "services".
  • Shout-Out: Shoutouts occur to Harry Potter, The Lord of the Rings, and The Ring.
  • Teeny Weenie: Zoey and the suits erect a skyscraper in the shape of Molech, complete with micro-dick.
  • 20 Minutes into the Future: It's not specified when the story takes place, but Jaden Smith is a major movie star.
  • Single Mom Stripper: Zoey's mother works as a topless waitress.
  • Sinister Surveillance: Zoey's mother is broadcast across the entire city as a way of freaking Zoey out.
  • Skyscraper City: Tabula Ra$a. Even the homeless live in a building that's at least 20 stories tall.
  • Vice City / Wretched Hive: Tabula Rasa is a place where Social Darwinism is the only law and the death of any random citizen is just good entertainment. Frank Miller would love it.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: When Molech's men are getting killed off, we hear Black Scott try a Face–Heel Turn, but it's never made clear if he got away.

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