by Michael E. Bemis
Meet Joe Littlefield, the chief of snowmaking for the White Woods Ski Resort. Joe is a competent supervisor; honest, perhaps a little naive, yet loyal and devoted to his work. With eyes on a promotion to Mountain Operations Manager, he nevertheless proves capable of heroic resolve, showing a determination to do the right thing, even when it conflicts with personal aspirations.
His boss, Warren Ainsworth, the owner of White Woods, has a drinking problem and an obsession for developing Carter Peak, which would make White Wood one of the largest ski resorts in the East.
Doug Andrews, an environmental activist with a past, had moved with his wife from Massachusetts to Cannon, Maine five years earlier. In search of a simpler life, the couple runs an antique shop, yet Doug has not abandoned his fervor for protecting the environment, nor has he quite given up on his aspirations of a seat on the Natural Environmental Council, of which he is a member.
Told through the perspective of these three very different individuals, Snow Waste is a story of ethical values, greed, and personal motivation, coming together in a setting that could exist many places throughout the state of Maine.
Cannon, Maine - a fictitious town, economically dependent upon the White Woods Ski Resort, but located near the real towns of Clifton and Dixfield, has always accomodated the resort, sometimes by looking the other way.
Snow Waste plays upon the forces that unite the townspeople, the resort, and even the nearby mill, once owned but now operated by Victor, a friend who has much in common with Warren Ainsworth.
The author does a remarkable job of building the characters of the novel, making them real, and even familiar to anyone who has lived in rural Maine; and he does so in the context of an intriguing story, one that acknowledges the hardships of life in Maine, as well as the small and the subtle victories that so often remain hidden to the larger world. Along the way, and as an added plus, the reader learns an awful lot about snowmaking.
The short of it is that I loved the story, and I donít even ski.
The author, Michael E. Bemis, is a career law enforcement officer, educator, lifelong skier, and ski resort buff. He lives in Maine.
-- Ken Anderson, Editor, Magic City Morning Star