The main characters in The Substitute, my first paranormal comedy novel, are Miss Havana, Lucifer, and their daughter, Lilith. The book is a side-splitting romp through the end of Miss Havana’s life, as well as her introduction to Purgatory and Hell. The novel has received many five star reviews, for example the following:
Miss Havana is the substitute everyone lusts after. She is both a blessing and a nightmare. While she is a blessing to look at she is not exactly what she portrays herself to be. After crossing a few of the wrong people with her wicked ways, she finds herself quickly landed in Hell after a most interesting demise.
Lucifer never saw her coming; yes, he did know she was evil, but he never thought she could possibly rival his evilness. Now Miss Havana has wormed her way into his lair and his kingdom and the last thing he thought would happen has happened. She's pregnant.
Ever the deceiver, Lucifer puts plans into motion to come topside along with his newborn baby and show the little one the ropes. So Lucifer along with a trusty sidekick demon go topside to raise the child. He never imagined he would be thrown into a body not to his liking, or that his offspring would be so...evil! Through the hilarious trials and tribulations of learning that all is not always what it seems, the adventures of the hierarchy of the underworld has never been told in this fashion.
The Substitute may the most difficult book I have ever reviewed. Not that the book itself was difficult to read, but the review was so hard to write. This book has so many facets and so many reasons that I adored it that I don't think I can do it the justice it deserves.
The Substitute is like nothing I have ever had the pleasure of reading before. It took me on a trip so wild and wacky yet strangely perverse, that I never had a clue what was going to happen around the next corner. No blurb can prepare the reader for the ride, and it is impossible to describe the hilarity or the underlying meanings.There is in-your-face funny, subtle funny, and even sick funny. As I write all I have to do is think of how Lucifer refers to himself, and it puts a grin on my face. Bring up the memory of what Miss Havana calls him, and you get to hear me giggle out loud.
The characters are witty, well-written, and completely unique. While Miss Havana is loathsome, one has to admire her tenacity and cunning, not to mention her ability to "mess" with Lucifer at every turn. She is one of those characters that stays with you long after you finish reading the book.
Now, how can I possibly say that I just adored Lucifer? Well, I did. Women in general do all we can to get our way in life as well as to thwart the men in our lives if possible. Lucifer is that man. Though he is pure evil, and he rules all that is bad, the fact that a woman can put him in such turmoil is undeniably funny. Not to mention a person would not normally think of "him" in terms of humorous.
I can only describe Mr. Hatch's Hell as one of humorous horror, and I even hesitate to use the term horror since the humor overshadows it. I wasn't able to put this book down once I started, and I truly hope to see it in print very soon.
Mr. Hatch has an uncanny ability to bring his words to life. He gives the reader a mental picture that, while not necessarily good when one is dealing with Hell, is vivid and electrifying.
Review by Teagan S. Boyd
Taken together, the four Miss Havana paranormal comedy novels (The Substitute; Oh, Heavens, Miss Havana!; The Training Bra; and The Trophy Wife) tell a perverse story of afterlife revenge, retribution, repentance (sort of), and redemption (within limits), although each novel stands alone as an independent story. In the second novel, Oh, Heavens, Miss Havana!, our heroine takes the identity of an advice columnist by day and serial killer by night, but all in good humor. Here is an example:
Dear Miss Havana: What qualifies you to give advice? Some of what you say seems to be at the fringe of believability. Just Wondering.
Dear Wondering: So, you want to know my qualifications for giving advice? WTF? Did anyone ever ask Abby or Ann anything like that? So what makes me a target? Because I’m prettier? Asking me a question like that is like asking what makes a woman strong and the answer is the same. Living with a man, you twit! Isn’t the only function of a male to make a woman miserable?
But rather than point fingers, let’s just say I’ve been through Hell and that uniquely qualifies me. No. Really. I’ve been through Hell. Lucifer was my “man”, if you can call that shithead a man. Living in his lair didn’t get me a website initially, but it made me strong to survive...and gave me a daughter. You might get to meet her one day if you play your cards wrong, but that’s another story. Fact is, going to Hell isn’t recommended, and my time with Lucifer isn’t what got me there in the first place—it only gave me a new perspective, attitude being everything.
Mostly it was the life I led before that catastrophe that gives me the experience to enlighten others, at least in terms they can understand. That was when I actually liked men, or better, liked what they could do for me. Face it, the “other side” didn’t give me this beautiful exterior just to have me squander it working as a bank teller, did they?
Okay, so I ruffled a few feathers, and perhaps a drug deal or two went south. BFD. It could happen to anyone. I was a substitute teacher during the week and a party girl on weekends. My students learned or faced my whistling paddle. On weekends, Chicago pulled out all the stops—the Windy City was my playground. And play I did. It was just unfortunate there were so many bad sports, or I’d still be racking up profits and destroying lives. Mine was a short life, but so chocked full of experience I can barely cram it all in the advice I offer now—advice you’ll never get from Ann or Miss Manners!
Dear Miss Havana: My husband wants to have sex all the time. How can I stem his libido? Sincerely Sore in Singapore.
Dear Sore. A time-tested methodology is lack of hygiene. Don’t shave your pits, and don’t clean them either. The problem will solve itself. Another method is inviting your trashy friends over, serving lots of alcohol, and going to bed early…alone. Your husband will find his own way to the bedroom in time, but chances are he won’t want sex, depending on how trashy your friend really is.
You get the picture. Her advice isn’t normal … but then, neither is she or her retribution. You can find the Miss Havana novels at https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=James+L.+Hatch
Thanks for reading,
James L. Hatch