Reviewed by Chris
TITLE: Witches for Hire
SERIES: Odd Jobs #1
AUTHOR: Sam Argent
PUBLISHER: DSP Publications
LENGTH: 322 pages
RELEASE DATE: April 4, 2017
All recovering drug addict and witch Jeremy Ragsdale wants is to shamble on to the next job without any disasters. Instead, the temp agency saddles him with a fellow witch who hates him, an Amazon one violent outburst away from deportation, and a knight from another world as his boss. Even worse, their jack-of-all-trades magic business stumbles upon a conspiracy to kill Desmond the Great, Atlanta’s sexy star magician. Jeremy must prevent it without letting his colleagues know that he not only has ties to the energy vampires behind the plot, but that his past misdeeds might have instigated the attacks.
Despite Jeremy sporting a suit and tie like a good witch, his lies snowball to bite him in the ass. The lack of trust brewing between him and his teammates could cost Desmond his life and Jeremy his progress on the straight and narrow path if his secrets are revealed. Because no matter how much Jeremy has reformed, there’s still enough bad witch in him to kill anyone who messes with him or the people he cares about.
Already fallen out of the graces of the Council, Jeremy Ragsdale is running out of chances to show that he can make it on his own. But until he does, he is stuck working for an ex-Knight–who is trying to get his green-card–and a couple of other last-chance magic users–who pretty much hate him and everything he stands for. Starting up a new business, working with people who can barely stand each other, is hardly a recipe for success…but most of them have run out of other options. Things get especially tricky when someone with a lot of power starts pulling strings around the city, and people start turning up dead–and the next one likely to be cut is Jeremy’s ex-lover, and famous stage-magician, Desmond the Great.
I should probably say, right off the bat, that I am not a huge fan of stories that are told from multiple viewpoints outside of the main characters. I tend to find it annoying. It spreads the story out too much, and instead of making me care equally about all the characters, I mostly end up caring about none of them. Sadly that is the case with this book. And it probably had a rather big effect on the over all rating of this story. So if that doesn’t bug you, there is a chance that you will find this story a lot more enjoyable than I did.
And to be honest I struggled a lot with this book.
My biggest problem was the fact that with the exception of Clive and Edarra, I couldn’t stand any of the characters in this story. Like, not even just that. I was actively hoping that they would just die already by the end of the book. Nearly everyone in this story is an asshole. Bitchy, argumentative, assholes. If you were to take out all the conversations that were only there for them to bitch at each other, you’d lose like 40 pages of this book. And I kept holding on, hoping for some character growth or god knows what, but it never happened. It felt like no one in this book liked each other, and so I felt absolutely no reason to like any of them. And while Clive and Edarra were not so grating on the nerves they seemed to almost always slip into the background of the story, so even that short reprieve was always short lived.
And Jeremy and Desmond’s…I’m honestly not sure it could even be called a relationship…was off-putting to put it lightly. They hate-fuck their way thru the book, and I could never really buy their whole thing. Whatever it was. I have never been one to get why you’d want to sleep with someone you hate, and even if they do for whatever reason, I have no desire to then read about it. I would have much preferred if that part of the book was just taken it all together. Instead the story kept wanting me to buy that they were in love…but I never felt anything close to love between them. They have chemistry, sure, but it more the kind of chemistry that leads to body bags and long jail sentences.
Which leaves me with the “mystery” aspect of this book. Ugh. Ok, here’s the thing. I liked all the side cases that these guys went on. They were by far the most entertaining thing in this story. They however dragged the pacing of this book down to a crawl. By the 75% mark of this story, the plot had been so back and forth that I no longer cared about who was trying to kill Desmond (which, ok, the dude was a smarmy asshole, so that didn’t help matters either). I just wanted them to get it done or get the fuck out of Atlanta already. It never felt like the book wanted to focus on it, so I lost interest rather early in the book. The multiple povs, while giving us a wider range, kinda made everything a bit fuzzy and indistinct, rather than giving us a better and clearer picture of what was going on. It tried to tie way too many different threads into this one plot and ended creating a snarled mess.
I don’t know. There was a lot here to work with, and I can’t help but feel that maybe I just got off on the wrong foot (and ended up tumbling down a mountain). Maybe someone else will find these characters engaging and interesting. I mostly just spent about 7 hours of my life pissed off at everyone being so damn bitchy. And I don’t really like books that do that to me.