Title: Witches for Hire (Odd Jobs: Book One)
Author: Sam Argent
Publisher: DSP Publications
Length: 314 Pages
At a Glance: An urban paranormal story about a magical screw up who thinks he’s broken, but gets put back together by the most unlikely of outcasts.
Reviewed By: Ben
Blurb: 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.
Review: I picked up Witches For Hire because I loved Family of Lies: Sebastian, and I was delighted that Argent created another asshole protagonist for me to hug and adore. I literally squealed with joy when the ARC popped into my inbox. To my delight, this work was equally feisty, with carefully plotted social dynamics and intrigue, but unfortunately the plot was terribly slow. I barely made it through (but I’m glad I did because the ending left a smile on my face).
I did like Jeremy. He reminded me a bit of Sebastian, prickly and entitled, but he had a level of darkness to him that was skillfully used. In that way I think I liked him more (but don’t tell Sebastian that). And I’m sorry for making comparisons between this work and Family of Lies, but I did pick this up based on the fact I enjoyed Sebastian so much (and the blurb seemed like it would be my kinda thing—snarky, dark paranormal). If you liked that work, give this a try, and vice versa.
I also enjoyed Desmond, even though that guy was a wreck—and a wrecking ball—with magic. At first I thought the love interest was going to be Clive, for whatever reason, and to be honest, I wasn’t completely certain of Clive’s purpose in the story when he didn’t end up being the love interest. Jeremy’s dad also sort of came out of nowhere, but ended up being a really neat addition to the plot, and I liked the other witch on the team. Her husband was a bossy werewolf, and their kids were wild and all over the place. It was cute.
The worldbuilding was a bit trippy. From what I could understand, this was an alternate Earth where everything was pretty much the same, except there were paranormal elements. Not only that, but there were portals into even more worlds, and that’s where Clive and some of the cast came from.
The magic system was…haphazard. There was abjuration, conjuration, divination, enchantment, illusion, nature-based magic, divine-based magic, necromancy, and transmutation, including shape-shifting. It was like all these worlds created some sort of Heinz-57 of a magic system, which—while interesting—was a bit crazy. You had to suspend disbelief on another level for this one.
The plot was also slow. There was backtracking in the storyline when a new point of view was introduced (which I hate), and there were several minor plot points that stalled the pacing. This will be a series, I’m assuming, so maybe some of my frustrations with the characters and minor plot points have to do with that. I’ll also recognize my bias on preferring more concise works and standalones.
I think the real win for me with this story ended up being Desmond. I wasn’t expecting him to be a major character, and though I thought I knew what he was about, he not only surprised me but influenced me to carve out a little place in my heart for him. Artfully done.
You can buy Witches for Hire here: