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Publisher's Summary

“This book is fast, furious, compelling, and angry as hell." (Seanan McGuire, New York Times best-selling 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. 

©2019 Natalie Zina Walschots (P)2020 HarperCollins Publishers

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What listeners say about Hench

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
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Fun unique story

It was a great story fun to listen to but at times the voices by the performer were distracting and took away from the story- still worth a listen!

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just an awesome and unique take on the hero genre. The actor was fantastic to listen to.

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something new!

it's refreshing to see something new, well I wouldn't say something new but something a little bit more real when it comes to superheroes and their consequences in general.

I enjoyed the main character although some of her attitude shifts at the end bother me a little bit I'll enjoy watching her grow in the next books.

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Underdog triumph story

The protagonists world is thick with the underbelly of a "heroic reality". Not everyone loves the glossy shine of popular culture and there are real costs involved to make it possible.

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Marvelous

It’s a fresh new take on hero/villain dynamics which prompts us to see beyond the whirring of media, fake news and conspiracies. It also evoques the universal need to be more sympathetic and to try to understand the other side.
The voice acting is phenomenal and the book wouldn’t be half as interesting were it not by this superb narration

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An excitingly different take on super heroes!

An engrossing listen, beautifully performed. I so enjoyed this story - I sure hope there’s a sequel!!

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Not a superhero fan and loved this book!

I only listened to this book as a part of a challenge to myself to listen to all 5 books from 2021 Canada reads. This was the sleeper hit. I loved all the cleverness and the fierce female characters! It evoked the joy of Saturday morning superhero cartoons. Such a pleasure!!

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A new view on the super villain

Amazing read! It brought me into a whole different perspective on the underbelly of the super villain. I especially enjoyed the unremarkable inclusion of gender and sexual diversity. These characters are present without making their existence exotic or other. A true representation of actual inclusion.

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Not bad...

Not bad, entertaining. 3 to 3 1/2 stars. A bit untethered at times, I could appreciate the intention, but at times the main character just fell flat for me. The narrator was very hgood for the narration and the main character but the rest of the characters voices left a bit to be desired. Andrea Vernon and the Corporation for Ultrahuman Protection (Alexander C. Kane) is a great choice for this genre with Bahni Turpin as an amazing narrator.

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Excellent Story

Good story with a plot that doesn't drag. Another interesting perspective on super heroes and villains.

Not hugely fussed about the voices the narrator does, but they didn't get in the way of my enjoyment.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Laura
  • 2020-11-05

Narrator was a major deal breaker for me

This was a first for me in all the books I've gotten from Audible. I always listen to the sample before I buy an audiobook so I know if I'll like the reader. I did that with this one as well, but apparently I didn't get to the parts where the characters were having a conversation. I gave this book about 2 hours before I had to stop listening. The narrator's voice was fine and normal when she was just reading through the story, but as soon as there was dialogue, she would become very (VERY) annoyingly nasally. This was particularly bad when the character named Julie was speaking. It was like the reader was channeling some incredibly horrible sounding young, whiny teenage girl for the intonation. It was awful. I would highly recommend listening to the sample and seeing if there are any parts in it that have conversation between the characters before buying this audible. I will definitely be taking note of this narrator and staying away from her from now on. I will also be reading the book myself instead since I'm still interested.

68 people found this helpful

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  • Tiffany
  • 2020-12-31

Voice acting is not good

I couldn't make it through the first few chapters because the voice actor used such a strong vocal fry for one of the characters. If vocal fry drives you nuts, don't bother listening. The story itself seems really interesting!

47 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • HiI'mSkippy
  • 2021-01-07

Suspenseful, weak ending, over-dramatic narrator

Most of the story is compelling, with a couple of big holes in character development and loose ends that feel like a naked play for a sequel. The narrator sounds more like she's emoting at a table read than reading a book aloud--I found myself reviewing passages to imagine how they'd land if read without maximum emphasis on every word.

35 people found this helpful

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  • Lindsey Choi
  • 2020-10-10

really good

short review before bed and days after finishing. I almost returned it after the first event of potential child abuse. Then another time it was just a mention of child endangerment. just the two times i believe.. But I was caught in the story, curious how it would pan out for the hench. MC really connected with me in her thorough ways. The book has characters who felt like flawed humans, motivated and caring but villainous. I think she is bi which is fine but I didn't see the purpose of her only ever making mental appreciation for so many people. That assessment be off as I don't seek romance in books though, not that there was really much here. I don't know if she should be also recognizing the appearance of more around her other than what she was liking, or not.

I'm going to have to keep an eye out on this author! I'm often looking for good superhero audiobooks that aren't male wish fulfillment or veiled romance. Glad I found it!

29 people found this helpful

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  • Julie K Oleson
  • 2020-10-20

Loved it!

Thoroughly enjoyed both the story and the narration of “Hench.” The writing felt so modern and as though written and spoken by a colleague over brunch with mimosas-a-flowing. The wit and characters were engaging and the sub story lines of workplace dynamics in a male-dominated field rang so true it had my neck sore from nodding in so much agreement. Thoroughly enjoyable!

19 people found this helpful

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  • KayMac
  • 2020-09-24

On to something big

Telling a funny, clever, coming of age, screwup grows up story while creating an entirely new universe is some tricky business. It’s also likely a lucrative one.

I have no idea why I bought this book. It’s not my usual fare, but I’m so glad I did. I feel like I’ve found the next thing before anyone else.

The narration was good, though about halfway through the book the audio quality goes in the toilet. I blame COVID as it seems to have happened to podcasts, too.

It’s worth suffering through anyway.

Great listen and you’ll be able to say “I read that the week it came out” when it’s at the Multiplex.

13 people found this helpful

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  • Linda S. Rucker
  • 2020-10-06

An unexpected joy

In the day of considering the other side of Heroes, this offers a fascinating look at how the actions of Superheroes might go sideways. and what the consequences of that accidental slippage might just bring about. I highly recommend it.

12 people found this helpful

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  • Food Guy
  • 2020-12-11

Brilliant, tense, inventive, amazing!

I loved it! Perfectly paced. Dynamic, fully developed characters that are consistent with themselves. A well thought out and planned world. Excellent and snappy dialog. A truly grand plot.

I want MORE!

10 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous
  • 2021-01-07

Original and compelling - very fun read!

Excellent storytelling, and an original perspective in a genre I believed to be fully played out. One of those where you get to the last page and immediately check to see if the next book is out yet.

Alex McKenna gives a fabulous performance as well, adding depth to character emotions and nailing the story pacing. Highly recommend and I look forward to more from Natalie Zina Walschots!

7 people found this helpful

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  • daniel
  • 2020-09-24

Three words: Lobotomized Super Villains!

You know somethings gone wrong with the world when the superheroes are lobotomizing super villains...

6 people found this helpful