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on 8 August 2006
Sorry, I loved the previous novels,but this one took an idea that was well past it's sell-by and stretched it into another novel.

Removing the main 2 characters and replacing them with 2 new, less well imagined ones, along with using the bit parts from the previous novels to fill in the spaces....Yawn.

I struggled to motivate myself to read the last chapter, in fact, I nearly didn't, it was so obvious.

I loved the first four J Wells novels, but this one seemed empty.

"Earth air,fire and custard" was supposed to be the finale, and resurrecting it was a mistake.

Tom Holt is excellent at what he does, and I personally rated the J. Wells series as his best....until now.

Even the bit part characters lost their sparkle, they were just too predictable.

However, if you want it in your collection for completeness, buy it, there are far worse out there.
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on 14 March 2006
[Insert Title Here (I can't be bothered to write it each time…)] is a quasi sequel to the funny, but slightly flat feeling Paul Carpenter trilogy. It isn't a proper sequel as frankly the majority of the characters don't appear in this book and the lead himself is a completely different person but it is a sequel in terms of the setting – the inimitable J.W. Wells & Co; sorcerers or business consultants; depends on your point of view really… – it can be deemed a sequel.
Colin Hollinghead is the son and heir of Colin Hollinghead (different middle name) and works in a widget factory. A widget factory that isn't doing well, not well at all. In fact like the majority of the manufacturing industry in a service driven economy it is on its arse but can a contract drawn up by the oddly captivating Cassie at said JWW make all the difference to Hollinghead young & old?
Well as it’s a contract from JWW you know it’s gonna bite someone…
Onwards and upwards as they say! Well onwards anyway. This book is going to draw comparisons to the previous series and in my opinion rightly so, the main characters – in this case Colin & Famine – do feel like slightly more impressive versions of Paul & Sophie – almost as if Tom Holt as built version 1.1.3 and improved it slightly to come up with version 1.1.3a… Its no huge jump, they are both a bit dim and not 100% likable but are infinitely less dime and more likable than their predecessors. I love this twist with Cassie (I won’t ruin it) and both Connie and Benny have some stunning scenes.
I felt this is the book that should have finished the previous series – it wouldn’t have managed it in terms of closing the plot off as they are completely different but this is a much better book than either In Your Dreams or Earth, Air, Fire and Custard. You don't have to have read those books (or the first The Portable Door) to appreciate this as it is stand alone and if you have prepare to be pleasantly surprised as it is better. The characters are weightier, not as wet and the cameos are brilliant (see Oscar). This for me was the last chance with JWW but after this I will certainly be looking out for more.
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on 26 January 2016
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, so reading a book all about it is a little mind numbing.

‘You Don’t Have to Be Evil to Work Here, but It Helps’, or ‘YDHTBETWHBIT’ for short, or ‘Y’ for even shorter, is a pseudo sequel to Holt’s earlier trilogy about J W Wells and Co – a finance style company that deals in the magical, such as Faustian pacts and killing dragons. Colin finds himself wrapped up with JWW when his dad approaches them about helping their widget business. If that sounds all a little dull, you would be right and the book manages to take the magical and make it mundane.

The humour in the book is to be derived from how Hellions are basically as wrapped up in red tape as we are. The problem with red tape is that it can be complex and confusing – this makes the plot of ‘Y’ hard to follow at times. Also, jettisoning some of the characters from the first books for what appears to be very similar characters feels completely pointless. This is a sequel that was not really required as the other books did not really grab the attention. Holt was a very interesting fantasy writer back in the 90s, when each book was set in a different place, but now that he has honed in on JWW his material is getting very stale. This is one to miss, expect for core fans of the author.
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on 17 October 2011
You need a twisted sense of humor for this, but if you enjoy sneaky, when-you-least-expect-it black humor, pick up this book now! I chose it solely on the basis of the title (I mean, come on!), and I was richly rewarded. Take something boring, like the running of a business and the inner workings of a law firm, add a pact with the Devil, and get ready to laugh out loud while reading. I don't want to give too much away, but this book takes a completely preposterous premise and acts like it's completely pedestrian - and the result is absolutely hilarious! I definitely recommend it but -again- only if you enjoy the weird and abdurdly funny.
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on 21 October 2011
An easy read, but very confused. I'd worked out most of the plot outline within the first quarter of the book, but there were so many loose ends it just spoiled the whole thing. There was the second tree in the factory - the first tree, nicely explained, the second really jarred as 'Oscar' should have twigged straight away what was going on. The there was the constantly changing shops - no explanation. And the auditor's final party - again, no explanation.
Sorry, Tom, but this really could have done with a lot more editorial work on it.
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on 5 January 2010
I have just purchased this my second book by Tom Holt; I know now that I should have been there at his first book. Tom's writing is funny, and flows so well that I can't put the books down when I start them. Excellent read.

Thanks Amazon for putting this book forward as a suggestion.
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on 22 February 2016
I love his style! and he is easing the pain of a good man's passing by Old Timer's Disease.
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on 6 September 2013
I am a Tom Holt fan so enjoyed this book. Downloaded to my Kindle, so instant gratification and will no doubt get the next Tom Holt that is published.
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on 14 December 2012
As the previous one, very enjoyable read. Looking forward to reading some more of his books soon, hopefully during Christmas!
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on 14 October 2010
Excellent Tom Holt novel...... you do not have to have read his other novels to enjoy this one.
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