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Beth's Review: The Helper by M. N. SNow

Author Provided Copy

Publisher: M. N. Snow

Released: November 15, 2016

Genre: Fantasy, Contemporary Fiction

Length: 296 pages

Format: ebook, paperback

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A tale that combines contemporary, speculative fiction with an ambiguous spirituality. The book explores relationships between lovers, friends, families, and what Powers of Good there may be. John Sloan is a Marine Corps veteran with a life-long secret that is haunting him. He is a conduit to a healing light that draws him to people on the brink of emotional disintegration, people who are then healed and Helped by this light. His blue-collar world is shattered when he finds that his connection to this anonymous portal has vanished. He is alone, seemingly beyond aid, and in desperate need of a Helping himself. The book tracks the intersecting lives of John and two other Helpers. His lifelong friend Dusty Hakalla is a mixed-blood Ojibwe, with a secret of his own. His power to Help is remarkable, but was once destructively misused. A career Marine, his scarred childhood and momentary abuse of power have left him jaded and bereft. Deena Morrison, also a Helper, is John's girlfriend. Adopted as an infant, she flees John to find her birth-mother, while carrying within herself her own secret. Another character shadows their lives as narrator, Nan'b'oozoo, the trickster god of Ojibwe legend—at times sarcastic and petulant, at others insightful and humorous. The novel travels from the gritty Lake Superior port-cities and Indian Reservations of northern Wisconsin to the Jewish neighborhoods of North Miami Beach, Florida—from Parris Island to the war zones of Kuwait and Afghanistan.

Four Boundless Stars

The Helper was a great read! It was very entertaining and had a few twists, especially at the end. The point of view was a bit surprising, as well. It starts with an omniscient third person point of view, but changes toward the end. This was a bit strange for me, but it made everything come together in the end. The characters were extremely well developed, as readers are given the insights of their thoughts in order to understand the causes of their actions. The imagery was also different; as a reader, I felt able to join in the story for some parts, but not others. This was definitely a new writing style for me, but it worked. The characters are soldiers in parts of the story, so prepare to hear the language you would expect to come from the mouth of a Marine.

The supernatural part of the characters was, for lack of a better word, unique. I love books with “special talents”, but this was different. I would recommend this book to a friend, but I would do so selectively.

Overall, it was a good story. I enjoyed reading it; and rate it with 4 Boundless Stars.

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