Temping is Hell
This is the first in the author’s Necessary Evil series featuring Kate O’Hara. I didn’t find the hero particularly likeable, but liked Kate, and some of the secondary characters, a great deal. On the strength of that I can give Temping is Hell a qualified recommendation.
Kate O’Hara lost her job at her uncle’s publishing firm when it went out of business. Completely broke, Kate’s temporarily living with her parents. Although her parents aren’t on page very much, when they are, it’s to nag and criticize Kate; they don’t want Kate in their home any more than she wants to be there.
Out of desperation Kate’s signed up with a temp agency. Kate isn’t cut out for the corporate world but gets a job as a temp for Fiendish, a large corporation begun by billionaire Thomas Kestrel. It’s a bit of a mystery what her job is supposed to be. The evil Maggie, ostensibly Kate’s boss, is too busy playing Angry Birds on her iPhone to give Kate an assignment. Another employee tells Kate that her main job is to look busy. Kate quickly discovers that the other temps keep busy planning their weddings, checking out Pinterest, and playing FarmVille.
Kate isn’t satisfied with looking busy and asks Maggie for something else to do. Maggie retaliates by giving Kate a virtually impossible task to do by the next morning. Kate’s no quitter, and decides to do an even better job than Maggie expects: Thomas encounters Kate that evening when he hears someone singing. His first thoughts are that she looks like a frumpy librarian, but the way she’s singing and shaking her “money maker” give him other ideas. Thomas is interested, but has a lot on his mind.
Thomas has one year to regain his soul. To do that he must kill 12 individuals who form the protectorate for the evil being Cyril. Once they’re dead, he can try to kill Cyril, which will get him back his soul. Kate ends up in the middle of the whole plot, when Maggie punishes Kate by assigning her to work in the “file room.” But the file room, deep in Fiendish headquarters, is actually the place where Thomas has 50 rogue demons working through files that hold clues to the names and locations of the protectorate.
Kate doesn’t realize that she’s working with demons and can’t figure out why they won’t leave the basement. One of them tells her that they can’t take breaks and she begins feeding them Ho Ho’s, and becomes a kind of den mother to them. Being Kate, she also comes up with an efficient way for them to discover the clues.
I thought the premise was cute, but had a hard time figuring out what was going on initially. The whole setup with Thomas’ background and predicament was a bit complicated. I’m also a bit confused by the tone of the book. It’s funny and light (despite such serious issues as death and going to Hell). Then, about page 200, without going into spoilers, the tone briefly turns quite dark and vivid. Based on what had gone before, it was unexpected.
Kate makes the book for me. She’s an individual, is smart, and loyal to her friends. She also has no filter on what she says and some of it is hilarious. I don’t like Thomas anywhere near as much as I do Kate. Yes, Thomas had some awful things happen in his past, and it’s clearly terrible that he’s lost his soul. But for a man who professes to be interested in Kate, he does some cruel things to her. While Kate and Thomas do have sex, things are not clear with regards to their relationship. They’re attracted to each other, definitely. But over the course of the book they each lie to each other and use each other in some pretty horrible ways, and what Thomas does is far worse.
I like a few of the secondary characters, most notably Kate’s friend Pru, and the demon Slim. I hope they’ll appear in future entries in the series. I like Kate enough that I’ll probably continue with the series through at least the next book.