Review: “A Penny for Your Thoughts,” Robert Ford, Matt Hayward

Pros: Like a horrific, paranormal house of cards!
Rating: 5 out of 5

In A Penny For Your Thoughts: (The Lowback Series – Book 1), by Robert Ford and Matt Hayward, Joe has spent eight years in prison. Now that he’s out–and clean of drugs–he’d like to stay that way. His friend and neighbor Kenny wants to rope him into some ethically questionable dealings, but he does need the money. One day while he’s hiking the Lowback Trail, he unearths a jar full of wishes taped to pennies. It’s some child’s hoard. He opens one, and it’s a wish for a bike. When he gets home, Kenny has left a bike for him! But when he opens the next wish, it’s a wish to take someone else’s bike from them, and Joe ends up meeting Ava, a rather cunning young woman who blackmails Kenny and Joe into including her in their shenanigans. Wanting to see if the wishes coming true was just coincidence, Joe tricks Kenny and Ava into opening wishes of their own. Before long, it seems like wishes are spreading like a plague. And not all of them come out well. In fact, it seems that Joe, Kenny, and Ava are up to their ears in danger.

The story that gradually unfolds about these wishes, and the pennies taped to them, is fascinating. It’s handled well, and the pacing is great. It absolutely kept me glued to the page. This world is strange, and even stranger than the main characters realize. I’ve already pre-ordered the sequel (don’t worry–this volume ends somewhere satisfying; it isn’t a cliffhanger).

The characters are fascinating. It’s hard to really like any of them, but they all feel very real. I did get, I guess, attached to some of them, is the best way to put it. The plot twists and turns, and I get the impression that whatever was fulfilling those wishes was deliberately trying to spread things around and keep things going.

The town is vividly portrayed, and really comes across as the kind of town where there’s a lot of drug use and a number of problems going on. Much like the characters, it felt… real.

All in all this is definitely a diverting read! It’s great for when you need to distract yourself from everything else that’s going on.

Postscript: OMG! Someone besides me remembers Sho Kosugi in “Ninja III: The Domination”!

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