Jeffrey L. Kohanek grew up in rural Minnesota where comic books sparked his young imagination, inspiring fantasies of heroes with super-powers saving the day. His tastes later evolved to fantasy epics featuring unlikely heroes overcoming impossible odds to save worlds born from the writer's imagination.

Now residing in Las Vegas, Jeff uses that imagination to weave tales of engaging characters caught in fantastic plots to inspire young adults and the child within us all.

Thief for Hire by Jeffrey L. Kohanek

Daring heists. Clever schemes. Snarky quips in the face of danger.

Meet Jerrell Landish: A thief, a con artist, and an utter rogue. Clever, inventive, and skilled, he executes plots that astound his patrons and confound his enemies.

When Jerrell hires out his services, he soon discovers that the schemes of ambitious wizards involve risks any sane person would avoid. Well, this thief is just crazy enough to manipulate the ruling wizard class against one another...until he finds himself the victim of even greater machinations.

Follow this quick-witted young man's rise to fame as the greatest thief in the Eight Wizardoms.

This fast-paced fantasy heist series is perfect for fans of Nate Temple, Locke Lamora, or Harry Dresden.


The Outrageous Exploits of Jerrell Landish trilogy features a fan-favorite character from the bestselling series, Fate of Wizardoms and Fall of Wizardoms.

This spin-off series is a great starting point for NEW readers and is pure catnip for Wizardoms veterans.



  • "A fabulously fun story that I can't wait to continue in the next two installments. I just LOVE this resourceful and hilarious thief and can't wait to read what mischief he gets himself into (and out of) next!"

    – Reader review
  • "I really enjoy the characters Author Kohanek writes. Each one is an enjoyable read and, even when I don't like a particular character, they're so well written I can imagine them as a real person."

    – Reader review
  • "Jerrell defies all odds with wit, complex schemes and incredible boldness. Great start to this new series. Looking forward to the next books."

    – Reader review



Jerrell emerged from the wooded trail and waited as Paloun's guards dumped the dead man into the back of a wagon. The guards paid the driver and began a climb up the long run of stairs to Paloun's estate while the wagon started down a long, winding gravel road leading toward the sea, a thousand feet below. There, it met another road that ran parallel to the shore and headed back to the city. Turning toward the stairs, Jerrell began the climb while surveying the hilltop mansion.

Made of white marble with fluted columns, numerous terraces, and clay-tiled rooftops, it was a sight to behold. Green ivy climbed trellises to either side of the main entrance, and sculpted shrubs lined the hillside below the building. While not as excessive as the castle, the manor was big enough to house half a dozen families.

Upon reaching the double doors at the top, a guard posted there opened a door while the other two led Jerrell inside. He stepped into a circular entry hall with a tapestry on one side and a curved stairwell rising up the other. White marble tiles covered the floors, and a chandelier made of wooden beams hung from chains connected to the ceiling three stories above.

One of the guards gestured toward the hilt on Jerrell's hip. "I'll need your dagger."

"I happen to be fond of this dagger."

"If you want to meet with Wizard Paloun, you'll need to remove all weapons first."

Jerrell gestured. "You both wear swords."

"Wizard Paloun trusts us to protect him."

"Fine." In a flash, Jerrell drew the dagger, flipped it into the air, and snatched the blade between his finger and thumb. He held it toward the guard, hilt first. "Here."

The man accepted the dagger and eyed the jeweled hilt. "Where did you get this?"

"You wouldn't believe me if I told you. You want the others as well?"


Quick as a whip, Jerrell's hands crossed and came away with a throwing blade in each hand.

The guard blinked. "Where'd those come from?"

"Hidden in my sleeves."

After a glance toward his comrade, the man accepted the two knives. "Any others?"

Squatting, Jerrell drew the throwing blades hidden in his boots. "I suggest you always check a man's boots. You never know what he might be hiding there." He placed the two knives in the guard's palm. His last knife remained hidden in his coat, between his shoulder blades. Best to keep one blade just in case…

The guard squinted at Jerrell. "You mentioned having talents the wizard might appreciate. Tell me those talents include more than hiding weapons on your person."

Jerrell held his arms out. "Look at me. The two of you are both a half head taller than I am and outweigh me by a fair margin. Someone like me must take precautions. The visible dagger is meant to make others think twice before targeting me. The throwing blades, well, those are for anyone dumb enough to come after me anyway."

The lead guard grunted. "Wait here." He looked at his companion. "Watch him. If he moves, run your sword through him."

As the first guard walked off, Jerrell turned toward the other man. "Is this how you treat all of your guests?"

"You are not our guest. In fact, we are going to claim we caught you attempting to break in. The wizard will decide your fate."

Jerrell snorted. "It figures." People were forever twisting events to suit their needs. It was among the truths Jerrell had unearthed in his twenty-two years.

Moments passed before a robed figure emerged from the doorway with the guard a stride behind him.

The wizard stopped two strides away with his arms crossed. "Who are you and why were you trying to sneak into my manor?"

"I am a master of trade, but I find myself lacking the coin needed to invest in such activities."

Paloun eyed Jerrell from head to toe. "You look more like a common street ruffian than a businessman."

"I was recently robbed of fifty gold."

The wizard's brow rose toward his curly brown hair. "Fifty? How did you come by such a fortune?"

Jerrell smiled. "By making investments that paid handsomely. You may have heard about the worm infestation that destroyed the apple crop in Ghealdor two seasons past?"

"Of course."

"I caught wind of the disaster the day before the news reached Marquithe. Because of that knowledge, I purchased every Balmorian apple order I could, essentially cornering the market. The next day, the news reached Marquithe, and the other traders came after me, begging me to sell them my orders. Able to set my own price, I made a tidy profit." It was a lie. Not the story, just his involvement. However, Jerrell had met the man behind the trade in a Fastella tavern. After losing the love of his life, the man appeared to be doing his best to drink himself to death.

"That was you?" Paloun asked. "That story is famous among the shipping merchants."

"For good reason. You see, that was my first week as a trader. Over the next two years, I made numerous trades yielding significant profit for investors like you."

"So, what happened?"

"I came to Yor's Point on a holiday, hoping to enjoy the pleasant weather and beautiful women Orenth is known to possess." That much was true. "When I arrived, I was accosted. My belongings and the stash of gold were stolen." He touched his forehead, still red and tender. "This is evidence of the fight."

"And how did you come by the clothing you wear?"

Jerrell tugged on his coat. "This was my disguise. I had thought to dress in a manner that would help me blend in rather than appear like a wealthy merchant."

"Why not pay a bodyguard to protect you?"

"Alas, that was my downfall." Jerrell shook his head. The lies came easily. They were the core of his craft. "When I reached the docks below the city, my bodyguard beat me, stole my chest, and made off on the ship I had taken from Shear. No doubt he was in league with the ship's captain." Jerrell made a fist. "If I ever catch Grayden or Captain Turik, I swear I will see them dead." Of course, the names were made up. There were no such people…as far as Jerrell knew.

Paloun chuckled. "You have both a ruthless business sense and a penchant for vengeance. I admire both qualities. What did you say your name was?"

He smiled. "My name is Jerrell Landish, perhaps you have heard of me?"

The wizard shook his head. "Sorry, I cannot say I know the name. However, you appear to be an enterprising and resourceful young man in need of a job. I happen to have an opening. Are you interested?"

"Very much so. However, I desire to regain my previous wealth and wish to do it quickly, so if you have a particularly challenging task that pays well, I would like to hear it."

Paloun glanced at his guards and then stepped closer to Jerrell. He leaned close and whispered, "I have ten gold pieces to offer if you can remove Jakins and help me become high wizard of Yor's Point. Before that, I want to publicly humiliate the man. But before this discussion goes any further…"

The hair on Jerrell's arms stood and a shiver ran up his spine, warning him of the coming magic. Invisible ropes wrapped around his body, pinning his arms to his sides, and lifting him off his feet.

The wizard moved closer while glaring up at Jerrell. "You had best remember that I treat even the slightest betrayal with harsh measures. Helwin, my last advisor, paid with his life just an hour ago."

With a calm expression, Jerrell said, "I was in the square at the time and am aware of his slight against you. Despite knowing this, I am here. Since I have no intention of betraying you, I have nothing to fear…right?"

"Not from me. I cannot say how others may treat you for aligning with my interests."

The man turned away. The magic dispelled and Jerrell fell to his feet, landing with balanced ease. A few strides later, Paloun paused and glanced backward. "Well, come on. If we are going to talk, it will be over a meal. I barely ate any breakfast, and I'm starving."

Flashing the guards a grin, Jerrell said, "He likes me."

* * *

Jerrell sat on a third-story balcony overlooking Yor's Point. Paloun's hilltop estate stood just outside the city, which spread out along the hillside leading down to the sea. Far below, a ridge of black boulders ran along the spine of the point as it stretched out into the water. A white, sandy beach stretched along the shore north of the point. To the south lay the harbor, dominated by a pair of long piers and two dozen smaller docks. A ship sailed past, entering the mouth of the waterway that led to Shear. With its white sails bright in the mid-day sun, the ship was a striking contrast to the cerulean waters.

Paloun rested his fork on his plate, sat back, and used a white napkin to wipe his mouth clean. He set his napkin down and tented his fingers before his mouth while staring at Jerrell. While others might squirm under the scrutiny of a powerful and wealthy wizard, Jerrell leaned back and crossed his legs while his arm casually draped over the arm of his chair.

Finally, the wizard spoke. "Now that I've eaten, shall we get down to business?"

"Business before pleasure, I always say." In truth, Jerrell had never said that in his life. "If you have any ideas that can get me started, it will save us time and help you gain your vaunted position sooner."

"I am unsure if you are aware, but Orenthian tradition calls for another wizard to challenge the existing high wizard for his position."

"Challenge?" Jerrell asked.

"Yes. In a duel of magic…to the death."

"I see. I know little of magic and usually avoid such things. Why don't you just go off and challenge this Jakins character?"

Paloun scowled. "Jakins and I have known each other for fifteen years. Our two families were among the wealthiest in this district. Our relationship has been contentious, and he always perceived me as a rival, which often led to disagreements and even fights. When we were young, I often got the better of him, but when he came into his magic, it all changed. You see, Jakins and I attended the University together, and we, again, found ourselves pitted against one another but this time, in feats of magic. The tables had flipped. Although I was stronger physically, his ability with the Gift outstrips my own."

Jerrell nodded. "You are hesitant to duel with this wizard because you fear you might lose."

"Very good, Mister Landish."

"So, if I were able to help you tilt the odds in your favor…"

Paloun grinned. "It is encouraging to see how swiftly you grasp the situation."

"In addition, you wish to embarrass the high wizard before you slay him with your…" Jerrell waved his hand in a flourish. "Magic."

"I do."

Jerrell peered out over the blue water, noting an albatross circling above the bay with its wings extended. He considered the situation; reading people was his greatest skill.

From his posture to his clothing to the meticulous way he furnished his manor, Paloun was a proud man. He expected the same was true of Jakins. They both took their pride in their station and their wealth. While the second aspect of the plan was to assist Paloun into removing Jakins from his station, the first must tackle the high wizard's wealth.

"In order to embarrass him, I propose we find a means to cause him a significant financial loss."

Paloun grinned. "Agreed."

Jerrell thought back to a conversation from the prior evening. The sailors he diced with had just sailed from Lionne with a ship full of wine barrels and were to soon return for more. They claimed an early freeze was feared to have destroyed the grape crops, but the harvest had already taken place before the freeze—and what a harvest it was. The bountiful harvest had the ship's captain concerned that the price of wine would plummet once word got out from the Marquithe Bureau of Trade. That report was due soon, but until it was announced in Yor's Point, the price would remain stable.

Rubbing his jaw in thought, Jerrell decided he could use that information to his advantage but was unwilling to share it with Paloun until his plan was complete.

"While I need some time to consider how to make that happen, what about your challenge? Could we not also embarrass him just by your defeating him?"

Paloun stroked his jaw, covered in scruff like Jerrell's. "If done right, that would work, but it is not enough. A massive tear in his coin purse would set the stage before I land the final blow."

Jerrell considered all he had heard, and while he better understood the wizard's situation, he needed to meet Jakins to discover his weakness.

"I noted you and your guards leaving the castle this morning."

A cloud passed over Paloun's face. "That blowhard, Jakins, invited me to breakfast merely to gloat at my misfortune. I stormed out before finishing the meal."

"You said your man betrayed you in Jakins's favor?"

"Yes. Helwin. Jakins likely paid the man more than I had offered."

Jerrell said, "If he paid for betrayal once, he is likely to do so again. Can you get me in, so I may meet the high wizard?"

The wizard frowned in thought. "Well, the man is holding a ball in a few days."

"A ball, you say? I assume many guests will be in attendance?"

"Of course. Any wizard or merchant of means from here to Tiamalyn will be there. While Lord Horus will not join the event, his right-hand man, Kylar Mor, might even make an appearance."

"It sounds like an ideal audience for Jakins's public humiliation."

A smile stretched across the wizard's face. "That, it does."

"However, I must visit the castle first in order to properly prepare the dish of revenge you wish to serve."

Paloun considered the request. "Hmm. I suppose I can request an audience with Jakins for tomorrow. While I hate to give him the satisfaction, if I use the excuse that I wish to apologize for storming out this morning, I am sure he will accept."

Jerrell grinned. "Perfect. Make it happen, and bring me along."

"Very well. However, you will need a change of clothing. I cannot bring you there looking like a common thief."

Jerrell restrained from voicing his reply, the words ringing in his head, Oh, but this thief is anything but common. "If you can advance me the necessary funds, I will obtain suitable garb."