On the whole I like what I've read by J. These coins have been used by others as plot points and they are usually seen to carry a curse. No where did Jesus sit down and say, "this is what Hell is and what it's like." No He and the apostles simply referenced it. Or the verse that says Jesus preached to the souls in Hell... Sadly it often comes across as a little more silly that I think it was meant to be. So...okay but not what I was hoping for nor (I think) what it could have been.
I think this would be an excellent TV showthe main character Andrew bumbling along like Maxwell Smart and his wife Rose herding him in the right direction just like Agent 99 (young folks, go to YouTube and search Get Smart!) It seemed to me that watching the action and being able to appreciate the storys physical aspects would have probably made me laugh. It would also have benefitted, IMHO, from a focus on the villain of the piece, Mr. Pennyman, instead of Andrew. Nowhere in the narrative did I discern why Rose had actually married Andrew or why she continued to put up with him.
But if you happen upon them at the right time, they can be magnificent windows into a world just a little more magical than our own.
Jules Pennyman is searching for the last of a set of thirty magical coins: the thirty pieces of silver Judas received to betray Jesus.
"The Last Coin" is like a best-of for familiar Blaylock templates: offbeat goings-on in coastal California; some sort of magical/mythic element; quirky, oddly charming, sometimes clueless everyman right in the thick of things; a villain who is delightfully nefarious but tends not to put our heroes through the meat grinder; strong, amusing prose with an amiably twisted take on life; weird animal connections. "One pig to rule them all, One pig to ..." In "The Last Coin," the villainous Pennyman has collected nearly all 30 of the mythic and now-powerful pieces of silver paid Judas Iscariot when he betrayed Christ. Pennyman, drawn to the few coins not in his clutches, his life extended by the influence of those in his possession, has landed in Seal Beach, Calif., as a boarder at the house of Andrew Vanbergen and his wife, Rose. Many of the characters come to play bigger roles in the Judas-coin business than Andrew ever dreamed; the plot thickens, and Blaylock keeps the delightful weirdness coming. This tale of loony-but-likable Andrew and the coins doesn't get too fearsome, but readers willing to wander in Blaylock's offbeat world experience more fun than humans should be allowed to have.
Blaylock combines two very different kinds of stories here: a magical thriller and a screwball comedy. The villain of the book, Mr. Pennyman, after surviving for centuries, is nearing his goal. It takes him forever (past half the book) to wake up to the threat, or discover that the "spoon" in his possession is in fact the last coin Pennyman needs.
Andrew and Rose Vanbergen have recently purchased a California inn which they are fixing up and getting ready for guests. Andrew has grand plans for the inn.
Blaylock and Powers have often collaborated with each other on writing stories, including The Better Boy, On Pirates, and The William Ashbless Memorial Cookbook. Blaylock is also currently director of the Creative Writing Conservatory at the Orange County High School of the Arts, where Powers is Writer in Residence.