“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.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Sure, you might think your boss is evil—but in Anna’s case, it’s actually true. After all, even supervillains need someone to file their records and make them coffee. While performing her routine clerical job for a low-level bad guy, Anna gets injured by a superhero, causing her employer to lay her off. Obsessed with all the lives that have been ruined or lost because of costumed heroes, Anna channels her grudge into becoming a henchman for the biggest baddie of all, Leviathan. Author Natalie Zina Walschots fleshes out her novel’s clever and lively story with relatable, real-world worries about job security and work-life balance. She also explores a fascinating, mostly ignored aspect of the fight between good and evil: What happens to the people in the middle who become collateral damage? Hench made us sympathetic to Anna’s pivot to the dark side—and it made us look at superheroes in a whole new light.
Walschots (Doom) gleefully blurs the line between heroes and villains in this hilarious peek behind the scenes of supervillains' lairs. Apathetic millennial Anna Tromedlov works through a temp agency for "henching gigs," doing data entry for minor supervillains. But then a tumultuous gig with the Electric Eel leaves Anna hospitalized, fired from the temp agency, and newly furious about the state of the superpowered world, which is dominated by reckless superheroes who don't care how many people they hurt in the name of saving the day. Luckily for her, the notorious, A-list villain Leviathan hires her as a hench. Her new position marks her first experience with supervillain field work, leading to a mind-altering run-in with the world's most powerful superhero and a deteriorating personal life. Though the closest thing Anna has to a superpower is her ability to analyze data, that might be just what it takes to put an end to the hypocrisy of superheroes once and for all. Walschots playfully pokes at both office politics and comic book absurdity while offering gripping action and gut-wrenching body horror. The inventive premise, accessible heroine, and biting wit will have readers eager for more from this talented author.
Not often a book changes my way of thinking about an entire genre of fiction. This one has.
Fun, funny, and lighthearted
The world that Natalie creates in her novel is both completely outside our own but totally within it in a way that makes it feel exciting and new but also comfortingly familiar.