{Book Review} A Penny For Your Thoughts by Robert Ford and Matt Hayward



  • Publisher: Poltergeist Press
  • Published: June 1, 2019
  • Pages: 292

This is my first time reading a story by Robert Ford, but I’ve read all of Matt Hayward’s work. By the look of the cover, I knew it was going to be dark and gritty. It always helps when the cover artist reads your manuscript. The cover really encapsulates the story. A good cover gets me into the reading mood. If I’m not feeling a cover, I’m hesitant to try the book. Anyways, let’s get to this review.

Joe Openshaw is an ex-con who lives with his father, trying to get his life together. He’s keeping off the old habits. Things are finally looking up for a change, that is, until he finds an old jar on one of his hikes on the Lowback Trail. He doesn’t think much of it until he sees the notes taped to the pennies. He takes a penny and reads the note. When he reads a note attached to a penny it comes true. Joe thinks it’s a coincidence until it happens to his father. He keeps it a secret for as long as he can. His old friend talks him into taking a job to make some quick money. That is when things get even darker and more interesting.

Robert Ford and Matt Hayward draw on what they know, which enhanced this story a great deal. The characters were authentic and fully fleshed out. I loved the donut shop. It made me want some donuts. I thought it was perfectly timed, and it added another layer to already rich story. Some of the scenes are nightmare fuel. I felt so bad for one character. I laughed every time they came back into the picture. The descriptions were top-notch. The scenes are so vivid I could fully visualize them. It felt like I was in the story with the main character. It’s always a good feeling when the world fades away and it’s just you and the book for an hour or so.

A Penny For Your Thoughts is well written. I couldn’t tell where Robert Ford left off and Matt Hayward began. Their voices meshed well together, creating a world full of grimy and bedraggled characters. The emotions of the story and the characters are fully realized. I also like how the authors explored the supernatural history of the penny jar, giving the story that vintage flavor. I thought the story had great flow, and the ending is satisfying. And I agree. Donuts are love.



Fresh from a stretch in prison, Joe Openshaw is living at home with his father and trying to get his life together again. He has let go of old habits, especially the ones that turned him into an addict and helped land him in prison.

On a hike along the Lowback Trail, Joe stumbles on one of the town’s oldest secrets–buried long ago, if not forgotten.

It’s an unusual but safe enough treasure–a jar of old pennies. What interests Joe isn’t the pennies themselves, but the pieces of paper taped to every coin–a child’s handwritten wish on each one.

When the first few wishes come true, they are simple things. Fun. Harmless.

Except as time goes on, Joe realizes they aren’t really wishes at all…they’re exchanges, and the bill was racking up.

Nothing is free in life.

Sooner or later, you always pay.

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