Proof of Angels: A Novel (P.S.)

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“…without a few days in hell, no resurrection is possible.”—Mary Karr

Mary Curran Hackett’s debut novel, Proof of Heaven, was excellent. In it, a very sick and courageous five-year-old boy suffers from a rare disease that will kill him within two years. He knows this and wants simply to see the father he’s never known before departing from the earth. Proof of Heaven was an engaging tale illustrating that human beings must make their own choice between hope and hopelessness, in both spiritual and non-spiritual senses.

Proof of Anglels, the author’s second novel, is about a fireman, Sean Magee, trapped in a burning building in Los Angeles. Magee is doomed and prepared to meet his end until an angel appears. Magee is unable to see through the smoke, but the female angel leads him to the place where he can make a blind three-story leap from the quickly collapsing building. Remarkably, Magee survives.

“He wanted to start over in a place that welcomed re-creation and self-invention…”

Magee had already lived one existence in New York City and different type of life in Los Angeles. After being saved from a horrible death by what may be divine intervention, Magee is finally ready to tackle the demons in his life and pursue happiness: “Everyone, Sean knew, had a demon or was once a demon… Then again, he thought, demons were nothing more than fallen angels like himself.” Will Magee’s third try at life—real life—be successful?

“Everyone’s got something that makes existing complicated.”

Yes, this is a story about redemption and it is—as was Proof of Heaven—a life-affirming tale. Magee is an everyman who wants what everybody wants: “Everybody wants to feel whole.” Without divulging too much, Magee comes to realize that what he actually wanted the most in his life was the company of a special woman, one he spurned and walked away from early on in his life. Will he able to reunite with her?

This is a highly engaging and finely written morality tale. While Hackett focuses on the spiritual and the unknown, the reader need not be religious in the traditional sense to enjoy it. Her style is never preachy or pushy. Proof of Angels does, however, stumble in the telling due to one tremendous and hard-to-overlook flaw: As the reader senses that the story will wrap up in a few dozen pages, it quickly comes to an abrupt, disappointing ending. It’s as if someone cut the tape on a song, so that’s there’s no fade-out. It’s jarring, as when one listens to “She’s So Heavy” by the Beatles, and so is the unexpectedly early conclusion of Proof of Angels.

Hackett is a very talented writer, so one has to wonder if she got caught up in writing to a strict deadline or if she simply ran out of ideas. I suspect it was the former. Although this close-to-great story wraps up in a non-satisfying and abrupt—and not quite fully realistic—manner, it’s nevertheless worth the time to read it.

Reviewed By:

Star Count 3/5
Format Trade
Page Count 320 pages
Publisher William Morrow Paperbacks
Publish Date 2014-Nov-04
ISBN 9780062279958 Buy this Book
Issue February 2015
Category Popular Fiction


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