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You Don't Have to Be Evil to Work Here, But it Helps (J. W. Wells & Co., #4)
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You Don't Have to Be Evil to Work Here, But it Helps (J. W. Wells & Co. #4)

3.82  ·  Rating Details  ·  2,071 Ratings  ·  79 Reviews
Colin Hollinghead is a young man going nowhere fast. Working for his dad might have seemed like a good idea at the time, but starting at the bottom in the widget-making industry has, predictably, lost its appeal. And now the business is in trouble. At least his father has a plan to turn things around—a new work force that will improve profit margins and secure the company' ...more
Paperback, 352 pages
Published November 2nd 2006 by Orbit (first published 2006)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Melissa McShane
Apr 11, 2013 Melissa McShane rated it really liked it
If I had to pick one key attribute I most associate with Tom Holt's novels, it's that Life Isn't Fair. So much of what happens in this book hinges on that idea, like how Colin is tricked by his own father into selling his soul to the Devil, or how he's shoehorned into a relationship he doesn't want just because reality will fold up and vanish if he doesn't. The mystery plays out well, and here's the other thing about Holt's books: life may not be fair, but the ending is always satisfying, no mat ...more
Guy Haley
Jun 09, 2016 Guy Haley rated it really liked it
Holt is one of a handful of good genre humorists. He’s less wacky than Rankin, more homespun than Grant, and less fantasy than Pratchett. That’s Tom Holt.

You Don’t Have To Be… is a very Tom Holt Tom Holt. He likes to play around with mythological themes in a contemporary setting, in this case it is Christian-flavoured occult. As in other of his books, the main dude Colin is a no-hoper, a feckless bugger trapped by a personal inertia field into working in the mind-numbing family widget-making fir
Dec 30, 2010 Karissa rated it liked it
I picked this book up on a whim because it looked funny. I have heard of Tom Holt before but have never read any books by him. This book was okay.

I guess you could think of this book as Office Space meets Hell...or something like that. If you throw in a dash of star-crossed lovers and interfering angels and demons then you have this book. Does that help explain it? Probably not. The plotline was convoluted to say the least.

So you have Colin whose dad is selling his soul to the Devil to get cheap
✘✘ Sarah ✘✘ (former Nefarious Breeder of Murderous Crustaceans)
This book is supposed to be the sequel to the Paul Carpenter trilogy (The Portable Door, In Your Dreams & Earth, Air, Fire and Custard), although the majority of the characters of the previous books don't appear here. From the other reviews I've read, it seems that most people were disappointed by this book, mainly because they thought the series ended with the previous instalment. Well, having read only The Portable Door, this didn't bother me that much, it was basically a sequel in terms o ...more
Apr 30, 2014 Jamie rated it really liked it
Shelves: sci-fi, owned
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 31, 2009 Lynn rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book. It's not 'deep literature' by any stretch of the imagination - and as such was absolutely perfect reading for a rather stressful 'silly season' over Christmas and New Year.

I actually found myself chuckling a few times while reading it, and though I found the ending a little confusing, just sat myself down, held on and enjoyed the ride! Sometimes you read the right book at the right time... and this piece of fluff was timed perfectly for me!

I've never read a Tom Holt n
Alaina Cyr
Apr 15, 2016 Alaina Cyr rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-and-loved
I wasn't sure if this book would be any good. I mean, dumping your main character 4 books into a series seems like a bad move! But I ended up enjoying this book very much. The story telling was neater, less convoluted than the previous books. There were still mysteries the reader wasn't privy to, but unlike books 2 and 3, it felt intentional and didn't prevent me from following the plot. My only complaint is that there wasn't enough Rosie. Even still, it was a highly enjoyable read and my favour ...more
Laurène Poret
May 09, 2014 Laurène Poret rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
I hesitated between two and three stars but even if it took me some time to get caught into the story and I thought it was a bit long at some point I really loved the last 5 chapters so I am left on a good impression. I liked the title very much and expected more of this book (I really like Pratchett and it seemed equivalent, but if it on the way of getting there it still isn't) but had a good time after all. I may try another one!
Nathan Dehoff
Jun 10, 2016 Nathan Dehoff rated it liked it
The first of the J.W. Wells series in which Paul does not appear, although he is mentioned a few times. Instead, we have another fairly normal, awkward, well-meaning guy who ends up involved in a magical plot that's closer to him than he realizes. Colin Hollingshead is the son and employee of an overbearing man who runs a manufacturing concern, and is selling his soul to the Devil in order to keep it financially solvent, with the contract being written up by JWW. There's also a tree growing insi ...more
Samuel Tyler
Jan 26, 2016 Samuel Tyler rated it it was ok
Don’t tell my bosses, but going to work is not the highlight of my day, I much prefer being at home with my family, or watching TV or indeed reading a book. Therefore, reading a book about an office does not sound like something that would appeal, but if that office was evil and had a doorway to hell in it; that would be different enough to make the book worthwhile. Unless it was written by Tom Holt as he loves a comedy of the mundane. Personally, I try to avoid being wrapped up in bureaucracy, ...more
3.5 stars
From the book: "If charmed quarks and electric eels exist, then why shouldn't magic? Probably it's all just science that we haven't found out about yet."

A business is in trouble, so the owner finds a solution, makes a decision, tells his son.
They let every employee go, with severance and hire people who don't want to be paid,will work 24 hrs a day, 7 days a week, no complaints, no holidays, no sick days, etc.
Magicians (real ones) are intermediaries who bring in these solutions. But it's
Miriam Holsinger
Mar 29, 2015 Miriam Holsinger rated it really liked it
Super fun and easy to read. I even read it on my phone! A testament to how engrossing this book was.
Vi Walker
Aug 15, 2015 Vi Walker rated it liked it
A 3 star rating seems a little mean for this excellent romp through heaven and hell with star crossed lovers thrown in for good measure. It is not the sort of book that's going to change your life and it may be that in 10 years' time you may not be able to remember whether you've read it or not. Having said that, it more than amply fulfils the bottom line for the "arts" in that it entertains. It is intelligently and wittily written with enough riddles to keep you interested to the end - for inst ...more
Aug 31, 2015 Ally rated it it was amazing
Shelves: comic-fantasy
Love Tom Holt. Loved this book. Nuff said.
Apr 14, 2015 Kate rated it really liked it
Funny and entertaining
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 25, 2011 Erin rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: People who like Tom Holt's other books
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nov 16, 2007 Tracey rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of British fantasy humour as a borrow/library read
Shelves: libraryread
I pretty much breezed thru this book over the last 2 days.

Colin Hollingshead isn't quite sure what to do with his life. His father, owner of a widget factory, assumes he'll take over. In fact, he's so sure of this, that Dad contracts with J. W. Wells & Co., a sorcery firm (quite hush-hush) to write up a contract with you-know-who assuring exactly that.
However, JWW&Co is having troubles of its own; the new owners are imposing the latest business theories and Connie Schwartz-Alberich (on
Jules Goud
For me, this book was a little slow.

I think that part of the reason was that I had to read this book for school. But, at the same time, I still found it slow. However, towards the end, the book did start to speed up so the end was enjoyable!

There was some humour in this novel. It was interesting to see Holt take on the idea of true love and love at first sight. You hear all about those people who fall in love at first sight and here Holt is taking the effects of love and giving it to those who a
Oct 29, 2015 Jennybeast rated it did not like it
Shelves: did-not-finish
I'm not sure why I picked it up, and it's possible that there is some Christopher Moore-like paranormal stuff going on in the background that will eventually become interesting. I read for character, though, and there was nothing in the first few chapters to convince me that I wanted to get to know these guys.
Barbara Gordon
Aug 29, 2012 Barbara Gordon rated it liked it
This is a follow-on from The Portable Door, but could probably be read on its own. Hapless Brit becomes involved with magic, gods, random heroes and bureaucracy, finds frustration, danger and love. I really should post a couple of the contract provisions for selling your soul to the Devil, which are all too plausible. It's a book that requires being read out loud to whoever else is around--not least because they'll be wanting to know what you're giggling at.
Due warning, though. If this particula
Jul 28, 2011 Alexia rated it liked it
I definately preferred this book to 'Only Human' - maybe it was the subject matter. Dealt with people instead of hamsters.It is also because this book feels much less dated as it was written more recently. That said, whilst this book was ok, I wouldn't read anymore of his books. I tried 2 books so gave a fair chance, but I doubt I'd read anymore.Equally though if someone told me, 'read X, it's his best one!' I would probably give it another chance. That said it's pleasant enough with fun twists ...more
Dec 22, 2010 Marnie rated it liked it
This is the second Tom Holt book I've read and I was entertained by both. If we could do partial star ratings, I'd actually give this a 3.5. As with the other book of his I read, this book started off slow. Unlike books like Harry Potter or the Sookie Stackhouse series, which lay a groundwork for the level of fantasy and magic in book 1 and build off of that in subsequent books, each of Holts books stands alone and so there's a long period where you find out what part of this world is just like ...more
Sep 29, 2014 Luci rated it liked it
this is runner up for best book title ever and it's pretty fun. it took me a while to get into it but once I did I had a lot of fun.
May 21, 2012 Al rated it it was ok
This is the second Tom Holt book I've read, and I'd review it the same as the first. Holt tries to be a set-in-the-modern-world Pratchett, but he can't quite measure up. The jokes and quirkiness are a little forced, and the plot gets lost in convoluted or unexplained twists. Holt seems to think that setting his fantasy stories in the "real" world means he doesn't have to set up a magic system, but this just creates a confusing and unfinished-seeming setting. Entertaining enough (and I DO love th ...more
May 22, 2011 Michael rated it liked it
A return to the world of J.W. Wells & Co., at least from the view of an outsider for the start of the book. Sadly, with many of the original characters having been written off by death or relocation to an alternate universe, new characters that aren't as appealing have to be introduced and the less-interesting characters from the earlier books play a large part. Not quite as good as the other books before it. If it was a standalone book by another author, it would be a 4 star book, but I cou ...more
Sep 25, 2010 Steve rated it it was ok
Shelves: fantasy-humour
A son living with his father (and really should just leave home), a few plot twists, a bloody large tree in the house *laughing*...

The Portable Door was a good read, very different and enchanting. This is NOT as good, it's just okay. Not as gripping, I didn't find any of it funny, and the love interest part was, again, just okay.

What did I learn from this book? I prefered it to reading The Bourne Ultimatum, but I wouldn't recommend it or read it again. If you want a good Tom Holt read then I'd
Jul 29, 2007 Heather rated it liked it
Colin Hollingshead is happy to learn that the family business seems to be in the process of being liquidated. Then he learns that his father is actually selling his soul to keep the business afloat. Aside from not wanting to continue being stuck in the business, he doesn't want his father to sell his soul. To save his father, he turns to the J,J&W, the company facilitating the sale.

This book can move a little slowly, but it still held my attention. Its charm lies in placing extraordinary eve
Jun 09, 2015 John rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's another JWWells book. OK, but a little flat honestly.
Oct 14, 2014 Brianne rated it liked it
It was cute, not addicting, smartly written though.
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Tom Holt (Thomas Charles Louis Holt; born September 13, 1961) is a British novelist.
He was born in London, the son of novelist Hazel Holt, and was educated at Westminster School, Wadham College, Oxford, and The College of Law, London.
Holt's works include mythopoeic novels which parody or take as their theme various aspects of mythology, history or literature and develop them in new and often humor
More about Tom Holt...

Other Books in the Series

J. W. Wells & Co. (7 books)
  • The Portable Door (J. W. Wells & Co., #1)
  • In Your Dreams (J. W. Wells & Co., #2)
  • Earth, Air, Fire and Custard (J. W. Wells & Co., #3)
  • The Better Mousetrap (J. W. Wells & Co., #5)
  • May Contain Traces of Magic (J. W. Wells & Co., #6)
  • Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Sausages (J. W. Wells & Co., #7)

Share This Book

“When you're about to die, your whole life's supposed to flash before your eyes. When you fall in true love, on the other hand, what you see in the twinkling of an eye is your entire future.” 7 likes
“A lifetime in the business had taught her that, apart from the few good people that work along-side you,nobody is to be trusted,ever,because sooner or later they'll let you down,sure as God made little green apples. And, when you came to think of it,hadn't that been the dirtiest trick of them all?” 1 likes
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