What always struck me about the dark, cultish television series “True Blood” was how it portrayed a society in which vampires strutted around as a class onto themselves – thanks to a synthetic blood product — interacting with humans in the normal fabric of things. That’s to say nothing of the opportunities it created for plot development.
I was reminded of “True Blood” when reading Michael Okon’s clever Witches Protection Program (WordFire Press), whose witty title describes an agency created to protect good witches from bad witches. Different levels of witches? Don’t ask — Glenda explained all that to us long ago.
“So what do you know about witches?”
That’s what Wes Rockville is asked when reassigned to the WPP after a botched assignment as a law enforcement agent. At the time, he clearly knew nothing – his screw-up involved transporting a criminal, an old lady, with the only instructions: do not look her right in the face. Whoops. End of witch in custody.
At first, Wes can’t believe what he’s learning about the Witches Protection Program, and that he has been relegated to such an organization. He is made to watch an “educational” film on the history of witches, and his skepticism only grows.
Alastair Verne is head of the WPP and an old friend of Wes’ father, a big shot law enforcement official who shifted Wes to the witches unit after his flubbed assignment.
“By the time you’re done, oh, you’ll believe in witches,” Alastair tells Wes. “No one grows up thinking they’re going to be protecting a person who uses magic and spells to get what they want.”
He goes on, “Believe it or not, we need witches in society. When a witch changes from being a belief to being a force of nature, that’s when a witch goes bad. Our job is to protect the good ones and investigate the bad ones.”
One of the good ones is the young Bohemian woman Morgan Pendragon, heiress to the Pendragon Cosmetics empire. The corporation is run by her aunt Bernadette, who also raised her. Bernadette is a “Willa,” an evil witch concocting a scheme to create a commercially hot, witchcraft-based cream that will put users under her power. As use of the cream spreads, so will Bernadette’s influence. She has plans to stop nothing short of global dominance (and we don’t mean market dominance).
Bernadette tries desperately to get Morgan to sign over her stake in the company, but Morgan sees through Bernadette’s devious intentions, and sets out to foil her plans. Despite some reluctance on her part, Morgan eventually embraces the help of the Witches Protection Program to fight her evil aunt.
Okon takes whatever liberties he chooses in developing the witch characters. They easily “shapeshift” from human form to animals such as panthers and hawks, and their spells are activated by nursery-like rhymes. Their powers seem endless, short of the WPP’s specialized weapons that can counter many of their initiatives.
Okon has fun developing the witches and their magic, as well as the WPP team designed to protect the world from them. The result is a light, fast-paced, comical, adventurous plot, where fantasy and the fantastic rule. It is chock full of action – New York bridges coming apart, hawks smashing into windshields, races to block cosmetic shipments – and sprinkled with a bit of romance.
And please don’t take it too seriously. As Morgan reminds us, “That melting thing only works in the movies.”
Witches Protection Program will be available for purchase starting August 28.
About Michael Okon
Michael Okon (previously published as Michael Phillip) is an award-winning and best-selling author of multiple genres including paranormal, thriller, horror, action/adventure and self-help. He graduated from Long Island University with a degree in English, and then later received his MBA in business and finance. Coming from a family of writers, he has storytelling in his DNA. Michael has been writing from as far back as he can remember, his inspiration being his love for films and their impact on his life. From the time he saw The Goonies, he was hooked on the idea of entertaining people through unforgettable characters. Michael is a lifelong movie buff, a music playlist aficionado, and a sucker for self-help books. He lives on the North Shore of Long Island with his wife and children.