Hench (Compact Disc)
Office politics, millennial angst, endless spreadsheets. Oh my god, this sounds horrible. Wait, did I forget to mention the epic rivalry between a superhero and supervillan? And the spectacularly complex plan to dismantle the enemy's hold on society? And the spark of romance? This is sounding better.
In this surprising satire and send-up of the traditional superhero tale, Anna goes from expendable temp to head Hench (short for "henchman", as opposed to the Meat, who are the muscle). Everything is upside down: the "hero" is a complete jerk, and the bad guy has a great dental plan. It works because it doesn't rely on secret identities or other cliched tropes. Anna and her co-workers are utterly relatable and we root for them on a personal and professional level. It's fast, funny, suspenseful, and at one point pretty gross (but the guy totally deserves it).
Honest to god, this has completely ruined me for all other superhero stories. I'm in love with it. The audiobook is pretty awesome, too. ~ Dana
(You can download the audiobook from this website).
October 2020 Indie Next List
“Hench is absolutely terrific! Walschots has found a fresh, original, feminist angle on the tropes of superheroes and supervillains in this smart, lively novel. Anna is barely subsisting from temp job to temp job — even supervillains need someone to do their data entry — when she becomes collateral damage in a superhero’s intervention. Injured and jobless, she fights back by collecting data on the negative effects caused by superheroes. As Anna’s research goes viral, she’s tapped for a new job with the supervillain, giving her an opportunity to use her skills to fight back against the so-called forces of good. Very highly recommended!”
— Carol Schneck Varner, Schuler Books (Okemos), Okemos, MI
"This book is fast, furious, compelling, and angry as hell. -- Seanan McGuire, New York Times bestselling author
The Boys meets My Year of Rest and Relaxation in this smart, imaginative, and evocative novel of love, betrayal, revenge, and redemption, told with razor-sharp wit and affection, in which a young woman discovers the greatest superpower--for good or ill--is a properly executed spreadsheet.
Anna does boring things for terrible people because even criminals need office help and she needs a job. Working for a monster lurking beneath the surface of the world isn't glamorous. But is it really worse than working for an oil conglomerate or an insurance company? In this economy?
As a temp, she's just a cog in the machine. But when she finally gets a promising assignment, everything goes very wrong, and an encounter with the so-called "hero" leaves her badly injured. And, to her horror, compared to the other bodies strewn about, she's the lucky one.
So, of course, then she gets laid off.
With no money and no mobility, with only her anger and internet research acumen, she discovers her suffering at the hands of a hero is far from unique. When people start listening to the story that her data tells, she realizes she might not be as powerless as she thinks.
Because the key to everything is data: knowing how to collate it, how to manipulate it, and how to weaponize it. By tallying up the human cost these caped forces of nature wreak upon the world, she discovers that the line between good and evil is mostly marketing. And with social media and viral videos, she can control that appearance.
It's not too long before she's employed once more, this time by one of the worst villains on earth. As she becomes an increasingly valuable lieutenant, she might just save the world.
A sharp, witty, modern debut, Hench explores the individual cost of justice through a fascinating mix of Millennial office politics, heroism measured through data science, body horror, and a profound misunderstanding of quantum mechanics.