The Collectibles

Book one of the Collectibles Trilogy

“Do what the other fella can’t. Be what the other fella ain’t, and then help the other fella.” Joe Hart has never let go of his uncle’s words. An orphan from the unspoiled Adirondack mountains, Joe leaves his humble beginnings and goes on to distinguish himself, first as a Navy submarine commander, then as an attorney unequaled in his field. But Joe’s world crashes with an unexpected tragedy.

A child of wealth and privilege from New York’s Upper East Side, Preston Wilson harbors a fear of financial failure. When that fear threatens to become reality, Preston tracks down the one attorney who might be able to save him. Joe reluctantly decides to help—but only after extracting a promise that Preston will fulfill an unspecified condition when called upon. Preston, desperate, agrees.

Too soon, Joe calls in his unconventional IOU. The self-absorbed Preston balks when Joe tells him he must meet, earn the trust of and care for several people. Each of Joe’s “collectibles” –none of whom Preston would ever want to know—has a serious personal challenge. Can Preston find the integrity to make good on his promise to Joe? Does he have a choice?


Collectibles Review 12

Harriet Klausner, reviewed on

The son of Manhattan high societye Preston Wilson grew up with a platinum spoon. On the other hand orphaned as a child Joe Hart was raised by his working class Uncle Howard and Aunt Lettie with a sterling silver spoon. Whereas Preston has an extremely easy path to success; Joe works his way through the US Navy, college and law school.
They met as teens when Joe saved Preston’s life in the Adirondacks. Years later, a distraught Preston is in deep financial trouble and needing a lawyer. He asks Joe to represent him; Joe agrees on the stipulation that Preston owes him a debt that one day he will collect. Preston accepts the strange terms. Not long after reluctantly agreeing to help, Joe saves his client from financial ruin. The attorney demands remittance. He directs Preston to obtain the trust of Joe’s friends “The Collectibles”; as he expects Preston to care for these troubled people when he soon cannot. He explains he helps them as homage to his uncle helping him. Johnny is a mentally challenged dishwasher; Missy is a domestic abuse victim waiting tables; Tommy is a gambling addict; Harry is a bipolar photographer and Corey is a carpenter suffering from early Alzheimer’s.

This is a character driven inspirational tale that makes a case for people to select and help “Collectibles”. The key to this strong message is that each of the Collectibles contains different personalities and woes. Joe shows first hand by example to Preston that life has no meaning if you fail to, as his uncle said,” … help the other fella”. This work is si thought provoking, readers will reflect on who their “collector” is and who their “collectibles” are.

Collectibles Review 11

Sylvia V. Hewitt, reviewed on

“Mr. Kaufman has written a fine novel. The character development in The Collectibles is excellent and the setting descriptions place the reader right in the center of all the locations and there are alot. It’s been a lovely read. I laughed, I cried and I wished for more.

Joe Hart is a fascinating character and there is the promise of learning where life takes his Collectibles in the future. I trust we can expect to find out one day. Without being overly sentimental, there are life lessons to be carried away and that’s a challenge for an author to maintain.

Other reviewers have written well about the story line. Suffice it to say that Mr. Kaufman deserves to join that long line of distinguished North Carolina authors. There is an art to crafting a well written book and he should be very proud of having succeeded in his first effort. It’s so nice to discover another new favorite author.

If we are lucky, we will hear more from Mr. Kaufman and if you are looking for a good read, you should settle in with The Collectibles. A chain of car dealerships, boats and beaches, the Adirondacks, big money and low life’s – this book will take you on quite a ride – that’s a promise.”

Collectibles Review 10

Miss Lynn’s Book Blog,

“When I started to read the book I soon found I was hooked from the very beginning. The characters just seem to draw you to them and you could not help but become connected with them. As the plot deepens I found out there was no way to put the book down. There is such a lesson in life throughout the pages of this book. All the money and power in the world cannot bring happiness, Love and generosity relationships and obligations makes the person. I hope the movie that is in the works is as great as the book. Highly Recommended.”

Collectibles Review 9

Avil Beckford, Writer, Researcher and Author

“The Collectibles by James Kaufman is one of those books that when you start reading it, you do not want to put it down because you want to know how it ends. Even though it’s a novel, the scenes play out in the corporate boardroom every day. It’s often recommended that authors should write about what they know. An attorney and former judge, Kaufman is the founder and CEO of The Kaufman Group where he assists companies worldwide to meet challenges, and help them to restructure and subsequently flourish. His knowledge of business makes the scenes realistic and the characters believable. … The Collectibles is a story about love, loss, wrong doing and redemption. We are human, we all make mistakes, but the important thing is to learn from our mistakes and try to correct them when possible. I recommend The Collectibles by James J. Kaufman, and though it’s a work of fiction, it’s also a wonderful business story which will teach you strategies and techniques that you can use in work and life.”

Collectibles Review 8

Frank Baldwin, author of Balling the Jack and Hollywood screenplay writer

“The Collectibles is such a great read… a rich, sprawling novel of friendship, loss, sin, and redemption.”

Collectibles Review 7

Narayan Radhakrishnan, author of legal fiction compendium A Fiction of Law

“Kaufman enters the realm of legal writing with this finely crafted and well-narrated novel. The Collectibles…interesting reading… the book reminded me of Jeffery Archer’s Kane and Abel…the book makes interesting reading…gives you a ‘Feel Good’ feeling after you finish… a grand one (read).”

Collectibles Review 6

Brooks Preik, owner of Two Sisters Bookery, Wilmington, NC

“The Collectibles, a beautifully written, extremely readable debut novel by an extraordinarily gifted writer, is one that I can heartily recommend to my bookstore patrons, I hope it will be the first of many more by author James Kaufman.”

Collectibles Review 5

Johnny Tan, Award-Winning Author and Talk Show Host

“Love and Fear Caught up in the Discomforts of life. The Collectibles gives the reader a unique perspective of life because it provides a window into what people value and why they value it. Two very unlikely people meet in a most unlikely way. Preston Wilson emerges from affluence, having never learned the meaning of earning his way. This leads him into trouble. His counterpart, Joe Hart, was an orphan, mentored by his uncle, and grew up in a working class family. Joe struggled to attain an education, subsequently overcoming all obstacles to be an attorney.Joe crossed paths with Preston the first time around as teenagers when he saved Preston’s life. In in cycle of life, when Preston found himself in all sorts of trouble, he learned that Joe had become a successful attorney and seek him as a legal counsel. Joe agreed to represent Preston on the condition that he would return a favor in the future.

When Joe came to collect the debt Preston promised to pay, Preston was surprised to learn the unusual nature of Joe’s request. Preston must acquaint himself and earn the trust of a group of people Joe had befriended. For the first time, Preston faced the compromise of his life.

The book is about living life, the power of human relationships and how people sort out obligations. The author’s first book is easy reading. James Kaufman is an attorney, former judge, and a successful businessman. He write an intense tale that forces one to reflect on the meaning of his own life. It’s a substantial book that teaches us a valuable lesson in life. When we allow our love to exceed our fear, then harmony will follow in everything we do. A must read for those seeking to understand the human power deep within us.” Jemila Ericson, host, Morning Music and Midday Cafe, WHQR

“The Collectibles is the first novel written by James Kaufman and I hope it will not be the last. I was spellbound by this book. It has so many themes, and is so powerfully drawn of personal integrity, and compassion and honesty and friendship… and a very deep kind of love where you really accept people just as they are. I highly recommend it.”

Collectibles Review 4

Readers Favorite, reviewed on

“The plot quickly captured my attention and held it to the last page. The characters drew me into the tale making me feel as though I were part of it. I connected with the characters on a deep level. This story teaches a life lesson. All the money and power in the world cannot bring happiness, love generosity and obligations makes the person. I understand this book is being made into a movie. I hope it keeps the high standards of the book.”

Collectibles Review 3

Single Titles Review 1/11/2011

“The Collectibles by James J. Kaufman is a perfect tale to start your new year’s reading, with its well-developed characters and amazing story. The Collectibles is so much more than an entertaining novel, with its many lessons to learn, not the least of which if that we all need to look deeper into not only ourselves but those around us. There are so many other things you can glean from this book, but I would not dream of depriving you from your enjoyment. Taking us through the full range of emotions, you will be laughing at some parts and crying at others, but one thing is sure; you will not forget James J. Kaufman and his riveting book, The Collectibles.”

Collectibles Review 2

Night Owl Reviews, Top Pick,

“For a debut novel, Mr. Kaufman has outdone himself. This book is nothing short of incredible and extremely heartwarming. I wasn’t too sure about this book when I started it but when I finished it, I was so glad that I had the opportunity to read this outstanding story.

Overall, I can’t say enough good things about this story. By the end, I was in tears. It drew me in emotionally and just wouldn’t let me go. I felt as if I knew these characters and they had become part of my life. Their problems became mine and their issues were real. I was rooting for Preston to see beyond his life and his realities to become a man that you could be proud to call your friend. With the end of this book, I felt as if I had lost a friend and truly felt as if I, as a person, had gained something.”

Collectibles Review 1

Debbie Haupt, Moderator B&N General Fiction Book Club, Board of Directors of Local Library District, Active Reviewer for Library Journal, Mira, Grand Central, Tor and Penguin and select authors

“The Collectibles is a must read. It makes a believer out of us that Angels do walk among us, however most of them are of the corporeal variety.

Joe Hart pulled himself up by his bootstrings from his unremarkable humble, but loving beginnings, beginnings that would stay with him for the rest of his life and always trying to live up to the words of his uncle. “Do what the other fella can’t. Be what the other fella ain’t. And help the other fella. After a tragedy that sets his world upside down he comes back to life with a vengeance to help a businessman who’s gotten himself in big trouble.

Preston Wilson came from wealth and through out his life has tried to do one thing, never fail. Now in the face of the one thing he’s vowed never to let happen he seeks counsel from the one man he thinks can help him out. But Preston has a lot to learn before he can really be a true success, the question is, will he.

If you, like I are used to that often used prose like flowery, flowing dialogue in literary fiction, you will be pleasantly surprised by this author with his every day and every man narrative and as you get deeper and deeper into the read you’ll understand the power it gives to the characters and the tale.

Mr. Kaufman tells us his morality tale in his oh so mild mannered way so that no matter who reads it, from whatever walk of life, we all get it. It also makes it easy for his readers to see what a marvelous storyteller he is and he doesn’t feel the need to shout it, he prefers a whisper. His dialogue is matter of fact, easy to read and it just works. His words take us from small town America to big city lights, from beautiful seascapes to the casinos in Vegas and each of these scenes are vividly and easily recounted in the eyes and minds of his readers. His characters however are all stars in their own right and each one has his or her story and Mr. Kaufman tells them in a way that goes right to the heart and soul of his audience. The Collectibles is definitely a love story, the love of your fellow man, the love of family, the love of your friends and how that love can really grow once reciprocated.

The lesson is simple, the question is did we learn it, and if we did can we or more importantly will we do it.

This is a novel that everyone should and can read, no matter where you are in your life, no matter the circumstances.
Thank you Mr. Kaufman for the most enjoyable life lesson I’ve ever experienced.”