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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)

3.83 of 5 stars 3.83  ·  rating details  ·  1,852 ratings  ·  67 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 May 28th 2007 by Little, Brown Book Group (first published 2006)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Melissa Proffitt
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
Karissa
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
...more
Arminzerella
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
✘✘ Sarah ✘✘
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
Erin
Mar 25, 2011 Erin rated it 2 of 5 stars
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.
Tracey
Nov 16, 2007 Tracey rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  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
...more
Laurène Poret
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!
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
...more
Barbara Gordon
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
...more
Alexia
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
Marnie
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
Luci
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.
Al
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
Jamie
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Lynn
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
...more
Michael
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
Steve
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
...more
Heather
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
...more
Brianne Schankin
It was cute, not addicting, smartly written though.
Kate
Funny and entertaining
Miriam Holsinger
Super fun and easy to read. I even read it on my phone! A testament to how engrossing this book was.
Yvonne Boag
You don't have to be evil to work here, but it helps by Tom Holt took a while to get into. Colin is working for his Dad and still living at home at 25. He meets Cass who works for J.W Wells and falls, well not in love, but has all the symptoms of it. His Dad's widget making business is failing so a deal with the devil is made. Star crossed lovers, demons and J.W.Wells, what could possibly go right?
While I enjoyed this one, it won't be a favourite. If you want to read Tom Holt I would recommend P
...more
Mike
The Wells trilogy seemed to wrap things up nicely, but then Holt got a second wind. This book is very funny and the plot is very inventive. This story revolves around mostly new characters (Holt got rid of most of the important people in Book 3). This would be a classic "good" vs "evil" story, except "good" is pretty incompetent and causes as much (or more) harm than "evil". This story comes to a quite satisfying conclusion, but we know there's also a Book 5!
Mike Klein
Interesting and fun book that is sort of a continuation of a series (but really closer to a shared world set of stories--think Terry Pratchett DiscWorld series). The humor is definitely British--meaning more subtle and some references don't parse for me. The plot is ultimately very dense and may not be completely consistent, but that's OK the story makes enough sense to be enjoyable.
Cyn Shepherd
Typical Holt convoluted madness.
Niran
His writing style is not for me with heavy overuse of tiresome similes - by halfway through I was wincing each time one came along. The story itself has a banal theme and convoluted plot and took a long time to get going. I was recommended Holt as a "comedy fantasy" writer, but this barely made me smile on just a handful of occasions. A disappointment really.



Windy
Anyone who has worked in a corporate office will "get this". The rumour mills are buzzing when there's a hint of a company takeover whilst at another company the owner is making a deal with the devil to ensure the future of his firm. As always, Holt has come up with a brilliant concept for a book but I did find this very long-winded.
Frynsg
I immediately notice the flow of British vernacular. I get a little lost but figure out what they are saying pretty quick.

This has picked up considerably now that the author is actually describing some of the stuff that is going on. Connections are made, understanding is clear. Now I want to see how Colin messes it all up!
Alexandra Logan
Having started work recently, I enjoyed all the references to workplace relations. Tom Holt makes some very witty observations and also writes in a good helping of funny one-liners. The story meanders along comfortably and ends in a suitably obscure yet well tied-off manner.
Jim
At last - after a dismal period in my library visiting life, I found a high-rating book. The story starts off reasonably straight-forwardly, and becomes more weird, and more amusing as time progresses. A bit of a Douglas Adams feel here and there. Well worth a read!
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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
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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)
The Portable Door (J. W. Wells & Co., #1) Expecting Someone Taller In Your Dreams (J. W. Wells & Co., #2) Who's Afraid of Beowulf? Earth, Air, Fire and Custard (J. W. Wells & Co., #3)

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.” 5 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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