By S. Alessandro Martinez
Omnium Gatherum Media
When young grieving widow Abby struggles to cope with the loss of her husband she succumbs to the inevitable feeling of perpetual sorrow. Attempting any and all provisions to endure the journey of bereavement, she also has to grapple with the haunting flashbacks of witnessing the love of her life fallen to a grisly slaying. Forever dotting and caring, albeit estranged friends, Rei, Corrine and Lorena offer to take her away on a remote cabin retreat, she reluctantly accepts. Little do they know the tranquil and serene locale is the precise destination for unworldly carnage and mayhem that may very well obliterate any chance of seeing dawn again.
We all remember our firsts. Whether it is a genre of film, concerts, television/streaming show or brand-new author, our first exposure creates an impact. The artist or creative talent of forementioned media always strives to leave a lasting mark. Resonance is the ultimate compliment to any author. I would like to go on record one S. Alessandro Martinez has achieved exactly this in triumph.
I struggled initially while reading and making mental notes with Helminth. I should offer clarification, I wish not to give the impression Helminth was anything but a highly enjoyable read. The primary observation is there is a colossal amount of circumstance within the confines of some two hundred seventy-three pages. My ultimate fear was preparing a review that will truly do justice to such a compelling piece of work.
Martinez pens his inaugural novel from the first-person point of view from one Rei. No easy undertaking for a couple of reasons. Please allow me to elaborate. It takes a special type of author to be able to create prose accurately and effectively from an opposing gender. Suffice to say there are certain nuances and finesse from each male and female perspectives that we may have challenges illustrating from the opposite sex. This young author has managed to convey a female viewpoint that in reality will never have reading audiences second guess the authenticity of Rei’s emotions, thoughts and actions. The plausibility of the tale is therefore enhanced, and we begin to become infectiously invested into the plot pace of Helminth.
What is equally if not more noteworthy of Martinez’s choice of perspective is that Rei in actuality is not the main character. While she tells the story, the story in fact is about her friend Abby. Of course, the infamous events that unfolds involves each, including secondary characters Corrine and Lorena. But the true main character in this case is newly widowed Abby and her difficulty in coping with the loss of her husband. One may suspect the story would become confusing or convoluted. Yet we never really question the stance the author has made, and it makes for a true gripping story.
The plight of Abby’s tragedy enhances the sense of empathy in her character. We genuinely feel for her anguish. Once this is achieved, we, as an audience get behind what she endures and on a very subconscious level, root her on and live vicariously through her struggles. This type of character development is ordinarily reserved strictly for the most seasoned or experienced of authors, a certifiable indication the type of future this author may have should he choose.
The relationship between the four friends is endearing and encouraging. In the era of fair-weather friends, social media and global isolation of varying degrees it is heart warming to witness what loved ones will do for one another. We all have fond memories, past and present of deep friendship. Martinez provides hope that the gift of friendship is still very much alive and not at all passe in our contemporary society.
Abby’s grieving process is a most profound segue to the dark realm on verge of being conjured and unleashed before the group of ladies. It is interesting the subtleties of each the stages of bereavement created and the metaphors of evil talisman behind them. Certainly, I could indulge in detail, but one must learn to leave a little less spoil and imagination. I am confident the author knows precisely what I am driving at.
The setting of the remote cabin in the woods may appear to be a little cliché at first. In actuality it is the perfect back drop for evil unleashed personified. Evil Dead, Cabin Fever, Cabin in The Woods anyone….?
Speaking of which I would place hard earned cash on bet that we will eventually witness Helminth in form of a film adaptation one day. It would take an equally effective director as the author, yet this story is a game changer regardless of the form of media portrayed.
Keep an eye on one S. Alessandro Martinez, you may either thank me or present me with a therapy bill that I did.