There are books with hugely complex plots, and a myriad of colorful characters, Elijah’s Coin is not in that sector. This is a deceptively simple, feel good story that is a sheer delight to read.

Our ‘hero’ is a young man, Tom Wagner. Tom’s life was forever altered at age 17 then an unknown assailant killed his mother in a seemingly motiveless crime. Alienated by his friends and family Tom seems destined for a miserable and solitary existence. Escape to Tom comes in the guise of crime. Not crime for the sake of the booty, more crime merely for crimes sake. A way to experience a high.

Although petty in nature, his crimes are escalating, much like a drug addict who finds he needs more and more of the drug to achieve the same euphoria. His latest escapade involves a sporting goods store, his plan is to check the cash register for money, and steal some shoes and sweaters. Careful casing has revealed the absence of an alarm system, no sign of a night watchmen, and best of all an easy way into the store via a rear door secured only by a small padlock.

Under the cover of darkness Tom makes his way to his target, a few minutes of work with his hacksaw he has gained access to the building and all is going according to plan. Alas that is not going to last, as he is making his way to the register a voice calls out telling him to stop. A security guard is on duty after all!

Elijah King is nor your regular rent a cop, and rather than turn Tom over to the police, offers to mentor him in becoming a better person, to show him how significant one mans efforts can be for the good of mankind. However Elijah’s methods are non traditional, he gives Tom a strange coin, with the letters EK on one side and G2G on the other side. This coin contains the answer, but what is the question?

The quest begins, the mysterious Elijah has given him some clues, but like everything to do with Elijah they are enigmatic. The conditions under which Tom can avoid a brush with the law are that he will return to the store twice more for further mentoring. On the final night there is no Elijah. In fact it is revealed that the store owner does not have a night watchman, no one knows who Elijah King is.

Tom vows to find Elijah, and the die are cast. As Tom searches for Elijah he is also searching for himself.

The quality of Steve O’Brien’s writing can not be bettered, Elijah’s Coin is a wonderful book, and although written as a novel it could easily share space in the the psychology or self help sections of the book store.

In what I think is a masterstroke each copy of Elijah’s Coin actually comes with two coins bearing the markings EK and G2G, and Steve suggests that you keep one with you, and give one to a friend. An excellent idea.

At 128 pages Elijah’s Coin is hardly a taxing read, but I certainly got a couple of hours of pleasure out of the excursion. You can pick up your copy at Amazon, Steve O’Brien also has a web site.

Simon Barrett

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