Angels in Play

Angels in Play came in 4th in the 2015 Illinois Author Project


Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God. Angels in Play tells the story of a six-year-old boy named NIKLAS LARKIN. Born to college students unprepared to raise him, Niklas is brought up by three generations of a funny and fractious family who all have different plans for the boy. GOD, a catalyst and major character in the novel, has his own plans. Alarmed by increasing outbreaks of violence, God influences Niklas to form a new peace movement by building bridges between social- media-savvy millennials and activist seniors.

While attending Puppetropolis in downtown Chicago with great grandmother Grace, Niklas encounters young people demonstrating against the elders they blame for ruining the economy. As he watches Grace make friends with a young woman, Nik gets his first inkling he can use his gift of humor to help people get along and be happy.

Nik’s best friend is Izzy Plotkin, a brilliant boy who can’t stop worrying. Izzy helps Nik develop his gift for comedy by writing bits for him to perform at the school talent show. They make a YouTube video with the help of a classmate named Cameron, telling kids violence is for losers. When the video goes viral, Nik is asked to introduce the mayor of Chicago at a city-wide student gathering. As Nik steps up to the podium, a young black man approaches the stage with his hand outstretched. Police surround the mayor. Cameron produces a tiny revolver he has stolen from his father’s gun collection, and takes aim. In the confusion, he shoots Izzy by mistake.

God convenes an ecumenical council of angels, saints, Buddhists and Jews to discuss the untimely influx of youngsters into Heaven. He considers suspending free will, but realizes that is not the kind of parent he is. Recalling the tense hours He sat with Abraham Lincoln while writing his inaugural speech, God brainstorms new ways to appeal to the better angels of human nature. As the supreme deity and artist-in chief, God paints sensational sunrises and composes music to create a desire for peace in his children.

To honor Izzy, the Larkins help Niklas mount a children’s campaign for peace. Nik’s parents sort out their problems, finish school, and get married so they can raise Nik together. On his birthday, God appears to Niklas, encouraging him to become a great comedian who will heal the world through laughter. Hands outstretched, Niklas Larkin flips his palms to the sky, as if he is holding the world, lightly, in his hands.

A free reader’s copy is available at Smashwords —