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The Coincidence Makers


The Coincidence Makers

“Everything happens for a reason.” How many times has this phrase been uttered to explain a fortuitous new job, a lost love, an unexpected life event? I said this when I landed my first job after graduate school. A friend said it to me just last night while relating a story about a missed opportunity that ultimately led to a better one. But where is the reasoning behind the things that happen? Is it dumb luck? Is it a force in the universe, effects of Mercury in retrograde, a deity? Or what if the reason things happen as they do is the result of an elaborate plan meticulously laid out by an unseen agent of fate called a Coincidence Maker?

In his latest novel, THE COINCIDENCE MAKERS, Yoav Blum explores this premise by following three Coincidence Makers --- Guy, Emily and Eric --- as they embark on their third year of coincidence making. The trio works for an unnamed supernatural agency that supplies, among other things, the imaginary friends of the world and creates the coincidences that result in everything from people falling in love to a person realizing his or her true passion in life to thwarted military coups.

"The premise of THE COINCIDENCE MAKERS allows Blum room to explore the concept of coincidence and all the ways in which it might alter a situation.... a very charming, well-written and entertaining story."

The story begins with Guy’s careful plan to arrange two people to meet and, theoretically, fall in love. It is his 250th mission, and the next morning he receives an innocuous brown envelope containing his next endeavor. But all he is given is a date, a place and a sentence: “Do you mind, perhaps, if I kick you in the head?” At a loss for what this mission entails, Guy heads to his weekly breakfast meeting with Emily and Eric, the only two people in the world with whom he can socialize.

The three Coincidence Makers went through training together and have remained close. Eric is a bit of a cad, always looking to make coincidences happen for his gain, primarily when it comes to women. Emily is quiet and smart, harboring a lasting crush on Guy, which Eric discovers during training and suggests she forget. Though Guy is holding tight to a lost love, Cassandra, Emily is determined that they should be together. She arranges a coincidence of her own to make Guy fall in love with her. But it doesn’t go according to plan, and, after Emily’s current mission unexpectedly finishes, she decides to sign the waiver that accompanies her next mission. Doing so will forfeit her position as a Coincidence Maker; after that, no one knows what happens next. But her humiliation and pain are such that she can’t see any other way but to sign the waiver.

Guy, meanwhile, follows the directions of his mission, attempting to find the person to whom he is supposed to utter the phrase he was given. When he finds the man, a black hat Coincidence Maker, he discovers that his mission is to briefly resume his post as an Imaginary Friend to Michael, now a grown and successful businessman, and prompt him to an action that will result in his death. Michael was a very special client for Guy, and being an active participant in his death troubles him greatly. But if he doesn’t, he risks not only significant world events but also his position as a Coincidence Maker.

The premise of THE COINCIDENCE MAKERS allows Blum room to explore the concept of coincidence and all the ways in which it might alter a situation. As part of his narrative, he includes portions of the “texts” the Coincidence Makers study during training. These fake texts are fun and endearing at the start, but I began to find them tedious and a nuisance that was keeping me from the bulk of what is otherwise a very charming, well-written and entertaining story.

Reviewed by Sarah Jackman on April 13, 2018

The Coincidence Makers
by Yoav Blum

  • Publication Date: March 6, 2018
  • Genres: Fiction
  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • ISBN-10: 1250146119
  • ISBN-13: 9781250146113