In For a Penny

In For a Pounding

Fiction - Short Story/Novela
224 Pages
Reviewed on 01/12/2023
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Author Biography

Kregg P.J. Jorgenson is the author of the international bestseller, Acceptable Loss- An Infantry Soldier's Perspective, MIA Rescue, LRRP Company Command, and award-winning Civil War novel; Clubs are Trumps- The Road From Plum Run.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Jennie More for Readers' Favorite

In For A Penny: In For a Pounding by Kregg P.J. Jorgenson is the story of an English university lecturer, Thomas Rayne, who becomes frustrated with his meager lifestyle in a 9-5 job that barely affords him a decent living. His wife, who covers most of their expenses, decides that she is tired of their mediocre existence and his lackluster approach to life and divorces him. Now living in a studio apartment and eating microwaved noodles every night, he starts dabbling in unscrupulous behavior, selling better grades to his students. Later, his underhanded activities come to light after a sexual harassment complaint. The university dismisses him, and he decides to use his knowledge of English literature and his practice in calligraphy as a child to forge signatures of the great literary writers on old copies of their books and sell them to collectors. Rayne had found his calling and perhaps also his ending.

In For A Penny by Kregg P.J. Jorgenson is a brilliant novel that captivated, amused, and engaged me. Rayne’s wit and literary knowledge help him find and sell his works of forgery to the highest bidder, eventually setting him up in a lavish condo in New York and rubbing shoulders with Hollywood stars and influencers. Rayne’s enthusiasm and awe of these great authors often made me forget about his illegal activity of forgery; I was entirely mesmerized by Rayne’s adventures and findings, especially toward the end. In For a Penny is one of the best novels I’ve read. It is imaginative and original. The story was fluid, well-written, and entertaining, and the main character Rayne is humorous and charming. The conversations were easy, natural, and quirky. Overall, In For a Penny is a stunning novel.

Emily-Jane Hills Orford

Being a criminal is not always the best way to make a living. For one thing, you have to watch out for other criminals, especially those more dangerous. Forging rare treasures is a tough game, but if you’re good and you avoid detection, you can make a lot of money. Thomas Rayne is very good at what he does: he forges rare first edition books by some of the greats in English literature, like Hemingway, Fitzgerald, and others. Most of the time, he manages to fool even the best experts in the rare and antique book trade and he’s developed a system that makes his finished forgeries stand up to the test of scientific analysis. But it only takes one expert, one test to blow his cover. You might not think that collecting rare books is a dangerous business, but just ask Thomas or any other esteemed and talented forger. Being a criminal is a dangerous business.

Kregg P.J. Jorgenson’s novella, In For a Penny: In For a Pounding, is an action-packed drama full of intrigue and adventure. I like the way the author introduces his story with a quote from one of the literary greats, George Bernard Shaw: “The road to ignorance is paved with good editions.” The author obviously appreciates the catchy comments Shaw made over his writing career and using this particular quote adds credence to the mystery and dangerous intrigue that will unravel as the main character, Thomas, sets out to score another big sale of one of his forged literary masterpieces. The plot begins with a confrontation and the drama intensifies, keeping the reader engaged to the very end. The descriptive narrative is detailed and helps set the stage of the action; dialogue is used effectively; and character development is intense.

Authors, as well as artists and composers, have always struggled with the power of the title to attract a reader. Jorgenson’s choice of title is a clever re-write of a classic saying, “in for a penny, in for a pound,” that has been around for centuries, a saying that might be used to express a determination to see a task through to its completion, no matter the consequences. In Thomas’ case, the consequences are more of a pounding than a pound. The literary genius of this work begins with the title and takes the reader on an adventurous journey into the realm of old books.

Maria Victoria Beltran

In For a Penny In for a Pounding by Kregg P.J. Jorgenson is a witty, satirical story about an adjunct professor who finds himself in the lucrative world of buying and selling forged fine and rare books. Narrated in the first person singular, readers will get to know the story from the point of view of Mr. Rayne, the divorced, soon-to-be jobless English professor of Podunk Florida College. Living from paycheck to paycheck, he resorted to a grading system where a failing grade can still be saved if a student is willing to part with their pocket money or perform some kind of service. As a result, his contract is not renewed but his friendship with assistant librarian Janice Rockland paves the way to the proverbial back alley of a prosperous forgery business, until he gets a visit from Alexi, courtesy of Mr. Bodolev, an old disgruntled client.

Kregg P.J. Jorgenson’s irrepressible sense of humor shines through in his novel and as such, In For a Penny In for a Pounding is a very enjoyable and easy read. In not so many words, the author delivers a detailed and vivid narrative that makes his characters jump out of the pages of the book. Mr. Rayne is a very unlikely hero, but despite all his shortcomings, he’s quite a lovable character. Concise and cohesive, this is one story that leaves a bittersweet aftertaste long after you read its last page. As you finish reading this book, you won’t know whether you should laugh or cry.