cover image Hench


Natalie Zina Walschots. Morrow, $27.99 (416p) ISBN 978-0-06-297857-8

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. Agent: Ron Eckel, Cooke McDermid Literary. (Sept.)