Author: Michael Phillip Cash
Publishing Date: May 14, 2015
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
Genre: Fantasy, Romance, Paranormal
Wes Rockville, a disgraced law enforcement agent, is given one last chance to prove himself and save his career when he's reassigned to a 232-year old secret government organization. The Witches Protection Program. His first assignment: uncover a billion-dollar Cosmetics company’s diabolical plan of using witchcraft for global domination, while protecting its heiress Morgan Pendragon from her aunt’s evil deeds. Reluctantly paired with veteran witch protector, Alastair Verne, Wes must learn to believe in both witches and himself. Filled with adventure, suspense and a rousing good time, Michael Phillip Cash creates a tongue-in-cheek alternate reality where witches cast spells and wreak havoc in modern day New York City.
This is my second book by Michael Phillip Cash and this is definitely better than the first one I read which is Stillwell. Both are mysterious and touching on paranormal but while Stillwell is horror, Witches Protection Program goes for action.
On what turned out to be my last days with him, I gave him tests and never did he got a wrong answer. He was actually intelligent. Other people just don't understand him. The reason why we warmed up easily to each other on the first day was because we had the same knack for goth fashion and wearing a huge silver cross. I told his parents their son isn't dumb, he just needs time to adjust his mind and definitely, whoever his teachers are, just suck at teaching. He then achieved high grades during his periodic exam in school that I was chucked from my job. I was no longer needed.
Knowing that the male protagonist, Wesley Paul Rockville, is a dyslectic, I was thrown off really bad. I could remember my student's frustration every time I tutor him. He was almost like a bipolar to me (I have enough from members of my family), he's happy to learn things easily and angry when he thinks he's being treated dumb or fragile or whatever he thought I was treating him. I tutored him carefully and that touched on his pride. To a degree, he was a handful but as a tutor back then, I have this swelling pride when my tutees go back home with high marks on their grades so I put up with their attitude. I didn't dislike him. As a selective antisocial, it just tires me putting so much effort in throwing smiles here and there (has to be timely and appropriate) just so my tutee would feel fine.
Wes Rockville gave me off that frustrating vibe. I knew then, he's a kind of person who's easy to anger, always eager to please in a machismo way and has a strong will to prove himself. Knowing the kind of character that Cash drew, I was instantly agitated. Trust me, Michael Phillip Cash perfectly shaped his dyslexic character so well that it makes me wonder if he has an encounter with one or two.
The third time I opened this book, I had finally let go of my frustration and kept an open mind. I treated Wes like he's a real person and I had to give him a chance. Others reading this book might have felt pity for Wes but on my part, I was more empathetic with his father who, unfortunately for "poor" Wes, is also his boss. From being a normal law enforcement agent, he was relegated to work at a bizarre underground agency and partnered with an older man.
As a skeptic, it's hard for Wes to grasp a new reality that's kept from the public that people co-exist with witches and these witches are playing relevant roles in the society including politics. What's more? One of these witches is the owner of a leading Cosmetics company and she's brewing a new formula of facial cream that will bring about the downfall of men. With the help of his seasoned partner and an ugly crone who, alas, is also witch, Wes is going to save the day starting by rescuing the evil witch's niece who, again, is another witch.
The world-building for this book is very simple. The setting is set in the modern day and the only difference between the regular world we have and the setting is that witches are working on the clock everywhere. We have psychics but they don't act like nor do we call them witches or wizards. Weirdly, wizards don't exist in this book. I hope the author will offer an explanation for that in the other books of the series unless it's not needed because conventionally when America is concerned, there are only witches. The Witches are divided into two binary extremes: the good and the evil. The good witches are called Davinas while the bad ones are Willas.
The plot is very simple too: Wes must be successful in his current job to get back at his regular job and to do this, he must secure his charge, stop the distribution of the foul product and arrest the enemy. The events that transpired are typical of law enforcement operations and actions by a drug lord with his cronies except when the witches in action act much like your stereotypical Halloween witch.
What do witches do?
- Shapeshift into an animal. Check.
- Fly with a broom. Check.
- Utter a spell like it's a corny rhyming verse. Check.
- Brew a foul-tasting potion. Check.
- If you're a Davina, dress ugly like the ugly hag you are. Check.
- Have an intelligent companion animal that acts like a human. Check.
Everything is very stereotypical and I think that works very well for comedic effects. Humor is thrown in all places and it works well. Some humor comes in funny scenario, some in the form of witty one-liners and some in puns. Puns! Puns everywhere! My stomach cramps in stitches from suppressing laughter in the middle of the night, lest I sound like a manic witch myself.
Witches Protection Program won my heart over from sheer laughter... and romance too. I almost wrapped up this review while not touching the romance aspect.
Morgan Pendragon has fair complexion, black hair and dark eyes. This is the only book I've encountered having the female protagonist with dark features and described to be very beautiful with them in the male protagonist's perspective. Usually, the pretty ones are those with fiery red hair and green eyes or golden hair with baby blue eyes. Anyhow, it's Wes who was described to be a golden-haired man with blue eyes, a Neanderthal for having a huge build standing six feet and three inches. Wes is adorably clumsy with his slow reading and I love how that scenario is thrown at his feet for the readers' amusement. Meanwhile, Morgan loves to dress as a goth chick. The two has nothing in common but their current circumstance pulls them together. For some weird reason, in my eyes, some magical thing forces to glue them together and I'm suspecting it's that old hag's doing. That hag is Junie 'Baby Fat' Meadows, a davina.
Nothing cheesy is really going between Wes and Morgan but I'm always excited at the chance that they're going to be together despite that they're at each other's throat sometimes. I just get giddy with them. I love how Wes's kind (the tall handsome golden brute) gets to be the underdog while he's paired with a tiny girl with dark features who's an heiress. Their partnership is rare and it tugs at my heart that their encounters always plaster a smile on my face. They're thrown in unlikely circumstances that they're constantly spurred into action but somehow, instead of feeling suspense, I felt light because the two are always near each other. I just don't worry about them. I hope the author has put a chasm between them in the sequels so that when I read them, I would feel hurt. I'm an emotional masochist when it comes to romance.
I thought I was over witches and most magic unless it's on a medieval fantasy setting but the author has proven me wrong. Moreover, I couldn't believe a man has written this book, the author has caught the air about women so well. The Pendragon workplace has seamlessly created a picture how career women are like especially towards each other.
Every person should have the right to practice and believe what they want, as long as it does not infringe on another person’s freedom.
There is basically nothing to dislike in this book if you're up for anything and if you don't mind saturation of tropes as long as they're well-placed. Witches Protection Program will hook you if not for the action, then the romance and if not for the romance, then the sheer humor, what with its funny dialogue.
There is a fine line between good and evil. It's called perspective.
I've always loved this quote on my laptop's wallpaper using the Variety app (it changes your computer's background periodically on your set time and optionally adds time and random quotes to the right). Just below that quote is the name, Michael Phillip Cash. I would often think, "That name sounds familiar." Months passed and I reopened my copy of this book in my Kindle for PC. I saw that quote again, credited to a Bernadette Pendragon and it felt so wrong because at the back of my head, I know it was written by a man. I wasn't sure because I've forgotten by then. Only after reading this book did everything clicked. Why is this so important? When quotes are concerned, this will be Michael Phillips Cash's greatest achievement. He could say a ton of other great things in his other books or interviews but that quote above is and always will be his best. It's a highly intelligent passage.