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. 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 Paris Island to the war zones of Kuwait and Afghanistan.
Those looking for a lot of action and adventure are not likely to find it here. But that's okay. This story is not really about what happens; it's about who's involved. The characters are the reason you keep turning the pages.
But, as enchanted as I was with some parts of this book, I have to recognize some issues I found rather distracting. One issue, relatively small but still noticeable, was the pattern of grammatical errors. The other issues had to do with the prologue on the whole, I really didn't understand its purpose. In the book's synopsis, Snow mentions Nan'b'oozo, "the trickster god of Ojibwe legend," and I can only assume this god serves as the subject of the prologue. But if he is the narrator through the rest of the story he is not mentioned, and I would even argue he is not necessary.
- Show, don't tell. Rule No. 1 of writing. Use dialogue, pace, word choice, and other tools at your disposal to bring your reader into the mind of your character. Don't just relay the information--make your reader feel what your character feels. Reference Ch. 1 of this novel if you want an example of what I'm talking about.
- Spell check. Especially when it comes to the spelling of your characters' names, make sure your spelling is consistent and correct. Excellence is in the details.
- Simplify. The best stories are often the simplest to tell. If a character or plot line isn't necessary to your core story, leave it out.