Two-bit hustlers in the church and elsewhere

In Patrick Coleman’s novel, people hurt others with drugs, dollars, and/or Jesus.

Mark Haines was an evangelical youth pastor in the early 2000s until he abandoned his wife, his daughter, and his beliefs and left town. That’s a sad story that many of us have heard before. What of it? 

Patrick Coleman’s novel takes us into the pastor’s sun-bleached postchurch world, a Southern California wasteland where Haines spends his days surfing and his nights working as a security guard. 

Then Cindy, a 22-year-old drifter, hitchhikes into his life and hustles him for a meal and a place to crash. As these two cynics drift aimlessly together, we get the ominous feeling that something bad is about to happen. Ten pages later, it does. On a steamy night, Mark’s coworker is murdered in a robbery gone bad. Cindy disappears.