At some time in your life, usually in the early school years, you may have had this question posed to you. “What would you do if you had all the money in the world?” There are variations of this but you get the idea. In The Check by Claire Wm. Harmony postal carrier Ronald Sizemore never has to think about answering this question. It is not that he has all the money in the world, but he has as much as he wants. In fact, he has more than he wants. He has no idea why, but every time he writes a check, for whatever purpose, it is honored. Then, the money in his checking account is renewed to at least the amount needed, but usually much more.
To further complicate things, Ron doesn’t even have to write checks for people who are in need. They are written for him. He doesn’t even have to know the people in need. They are identified for him. And finally, he doesn’t even have to send checks. They are sent for him. He only knows that he is not doing it; he has no idea who has changed him into a conduit of funds. Money does not only go into and out of his account; additional accounts have been created for him, at one point 832 accounts.
The reader knows early that the recipients of funds are people in need, although need is loosely defined. An early recipient felt that he needed a hamster. Others needed expensive surgery or a catch-up on soon to be in default mortgages. Organizations and charities also receive funds according to criteria undisclosed to the funnel, Ron. Some organizations and banks lose money. Considering themselves robbed, they try to complain. Somewhere about one-third into the novel, it becomes apparent that money is being taken from criminal enterprises and redistributed to those in need. Once the reader knows this, the story proceeds as a story of Robin Hood, but on technology-driven steroids.
The story has no surprises. I couldn’t write a spoiler if I wanted to. There is a love interest. No surprises. There is a political element. How can Ron do what governments cannot? The answer is not a surprise. There is a mystery. Who is the source of funds? OK, a little bit of a mystery. There are several pages devoted to violent clashes between the criminal elements seeking revenge against Ron; it is their money being diverted. These scenes of violence, more suited to a military exercise, are where the novel drags a bit. By this point we know that no matter how well armed the bad guys are, Ron’s forces, although smaller, are better trained and on the side of good. No surprises.
This is a pleasant weekend read when you just feel like reading rather than weekend reruns on TV.