About The Book


On a snowy Christmas morning, residents of New York City are delighted to find a single, five stanza poem published on the front page of the New York Times. Except for the paper’s banner, the rest of page one of the newspaper is blank. But the editors of the Times did not approve this format, and had never before seen the poem. No one can explain how the poem came to print.

That same morning, Park Police find a small stone chapel on the Great Lawn of Central Park. Like the poem, no one can explain the chapel’s existence. With its limestone walls, stained glass windows and old world slate roof, the little church is both a mystery and a trespass, a miracle or a cruel ruse.

The Stone Chapel Poet weaves these two mysteries together, as the lives of four unrelated characters are forever changed. Isla Walson, the owner of a small coffee shop in Hell’s Kitchen, is alone and overwhelmed by the possible loss of her business; Cap Kencaid is a Deer Island, Maine fisherman, trapped in New York because of a family emergency, the life-threatening illness of his mother; Claira Vasson, an ambitious Assistant-Director of the Central Park Conservancy, shuttling between the demands of her job and her responsibilities as a single-mother, recently divorced; and Mike Sandoval, a N.Y. Times editor, sliding deeper into alcoholism and depression since the death of his twelve year old daughter one year before. Each of their lives are at a defining moment of crisis, each at the tipping point of despair.

Over the next week, Christmas morning to New Year’s Eve, the Stone Chapel Poet touches the lives of the people of New York, but especially these four random strangers, with words and whispers, with questions and signs. Can they find the resolve to overcome their demons? Could they recognize a miracle without any belief or faith? Could they even understand that they themselves may be the answer to someone’s prayer, despite the condition of their broken hearts and battered souls?

The man at the center of these mysteries and miracles is Darragh Finn, a Scot with a vivid and blemished past, who becomes the most unlikely hand of deliverance and reflection. A drunkard, felon, atheist and drop-out, both irredeemable and ignominious, a man otherwise born to be the Stone Chapel Poet.

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Stone Chapel Poet by Lake Charles Native Alan McCall