One self-appointed charity Santa Claus seeking revenge, one confused pre-teen runaway, and plenty of Christmas atmosphere; it is an unexpected combination of elements Stephen V. Masse uses to tell a story of love and redemption in his novel, A Jolly Good Fellow.
Duncan Wagner dislikes State Representative Win Booker. In fact, he dislikes the Representative enough to kidnap his 11-year old son, Gabriel, and hold the boy for ransom. Gabriel is unhappy. He is unhappy enough to run away from home. Out hitchhiking, Gabriel accepts a ride from Wagner. Has Gabriel been kidnapped or is he a runaway? This becomes a dilemma for Wagner as he finds himself with a rather willing "victim." In the days leading up to Christmas, these two lonely souls develop an unexpected friendship that is sometimes humorous and sometimes heart wrenching as they learn that they are not bound to lives of loneliness if they would simply reach out and grasp the love and friendship that others have offered.
I expected this novel to be driven by the suspense of the kidnapping. Instead, I found that the suspense was generated from within myself as I held out hope for these two lonely and broken characters; as I hoped that somehow they would each discover their way in a broken and imperfect world. What better story could there be at Christmas?