In this supernatural novel, which the author dedicates to her mother, a young blind woman named Loreena Picket lives with her uncle, a pastor at a community church, serving its congregation as pianist. However, she has a sinister ability, which is to end lives by touching others. While her uncle considers this a blessing in shepherding others into the afterlife, Loreena has a guilty conscience, with her ability, for one thing, allowing temporary recovery of her eyesight. She ultimately reveals her ability to her older brother when she saves him from a drug dealer, although she’s quickly drawn into a world that will test her resolve.
The main action of the narrative opens in 1967, with exposition that the reverend’s residence stands twenty-two steps from the back door of Stillwater Christian Church, and Loreena remembering what the house she and her uncle occupies looks like, a hint at the aforementioned temporary recovery of her eyesight. Among the early recipients of her mortal touch is a lung cancer patient named Russell Pearson, with her Uncle Don insisting her power is a kind of merciful euthanasia. Her brother comes home early on, with the incident involving the drug dealer inciting the chief action of the storyline.
Story’s novel for the most part does a nice job fleshing out the primary narrative, with the perspective mostly being third-person limited, given the looks into Loreena’s mind, and will give those such as this reviewer who very much value their eyesight a nice insight into the psychology of the blind. The author likely did research as well into the lifestyles of the blind, as she acknowledges after the storyline ends the National Federation of the Blind and one of its conventions she attended years ago. Overall, this is very much a recommended novel to those seeking an enthralling, relatively contemporary supernatural narrative.
Colleen M. Story writes imaginative fiction and is also a freelance writer, instructor, and motivational speaker specializing in creativity, productivity, and personal wellness. Her latest novel, "Loreena’s Gift," was released with Dzanc Books April 12 2016. Her fantasy novel, "Rise of the Sidenah," is a North American Book Awards winner, and New Apple Book Awards Official Selection (Young Adult). She is the founder of Writing and Wellness (writingandwellness.com) a motivational site for writers and other creatives.