Healers: A Novel by Brooke Reynolds is an enchanting, surprise dive into an urban fantasy world that both delights and shocks readers on a number of levels. Dr. Scott Weaver is an experienced and highly talented trauma surgeon who also has aspects of the “God Complex” in his psyche and is tormented by the demon of drink. One evening, when he did not expect to be called in, he reports for surgery while drunk, makes a fatal error on a gunshot wound, and loses his patient. Refusing to lie to the investigating board, Scott is suspended and then deregistered as a doctor. Bereft and alone with only alcohol and drugs as his solace, Scott chooses suicide as the way out and blows out his brains. He wakes to find himself back in Blister City in his own personal purgatory, given a second chance to make a difference as a “healer”. With his healing powers, Scott could do great work but instead, he chooses the seedy, run-down, nightlife of Blister City as his habitat and wastes his healing powers for a full seven years. Sent a talking dog, Malakai, with attitude, to bring him to his senses and remind him of the short time left to redeem himself, Scott and Malakai set out to “heal” as many of the good citizens of Blister City before he is recalled and a final decision made as to his disposition.

Healers: A Novel took me completely by surprise. Author Brooke Reynolds has created a dark, violent, seedy, “noir” to match the grittiest crime novels and yet there is a whimsical, passionate, and romantic side to the tale that shines through the filth and the crud. For a debut novel, the author has struck exactly the right tone in her narrative. I particularly loved the interactions between Scott and Malakai that invariably drew out the best humanist responses from Scott. Admittedly, the talking dog was a shock but it was beautifully done and lifted this novel well above its competitors in the genre. I also appreciated the two sides of Dr. Scott Weaver, the cynic who hated himself versus the humanitarian nature that had first driven him to medicine and the power to heal. The passionate and deep relationships that Scott formed with Barry, Ginger, Nancy, Layla, and even Malakai show the true, caring nature of a man who had truly gone off the rails but never completely lost himself and that just earns this author much more credit. Brooke Reynolds has a style that takes you deep inside the minds of the participants and you truly feel invested in the actions and the outcomes. This was one book I absolutely didn’t want to end, so if I had one complaint, it was too short. I can highly recommend it and look forward to the next offering from this talented author.

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