Thursday, July 5, 2012

W. Jack Savage Takes Readers Where They Never Expect To Go...

"The idea of Private Richard Smith, a trainee,
and Staff Sergeant William McCaully fraternizing,
even while on leave over the Christmas holiday,
went against nearly all regulations regarding
soldiers in training in particular, and the chain
of command overall. That it was Christmas
mattered less in his mind than the fact that
Private Smith was an orphan...But in the spirit
of the army being a team; a family; Richard Smith
and Bill McCaully were individuals who both had
no one else. Bill had served more than thirty years
of his life in the army, and would never see a
pension, much less his fifty-third birthday. Richard
Smith would be in Vietnam by the 4th of July
never having known a mother or father, and faced
somewhat long odds of living long enough to have
a family of his own someday..."
Picture of W. Jack Savage

The Children Shall Be

By W. Jack Savage

Almost immediately after starting Jack Savage's latest book, I thought of the similarity with Odd Thomas by Dean Koontz. Then as I read more, I began to feel like I was reading an autobiography and began wondering...
By the time I finished it, crying, I knew it was a little of both. Savage has an uncanny style of writing. If you know his work, you know it's going to be deep, heavy, immersed in detail of story... Readers must pay attention and allow the words to slowly lay out the details of, especially, the main character's life. In this case: Richard Smith... Soon you realize that you seem to know that main character, you care about him, and, indeed, would like to meet him--he matters to you!

Original Cover Art By W. Jack Savage
Richard Smith was an orphan; that is, he grew up in an orphanage. All that he knew about his life was told to him by the Sisters of St. James's Orphanage, He had been told that he had come to the orphanage after his mother had died, along with two sisters. His father was a soldier in the Korean War. When he got old enough to begin questioning, he discovered that Janie, his sister had died and that his older sister Shirley had been taken home with an uncle. He had been left behind. Later, he realized that the Korean War was over. He asked when his father would pick him up...

One sister said that she didn't think he would want to pick up any boy that would not eat his breakfast...

Richard had refused to eat the cornmeal mush with cod liver oil and would show up for the punishment--a spanking--each morning. For six years...

Although many of the Sisters found it hard to work with Richard, he nonetheless took care of himself, studied hard, was a fanatic about movies and often would be found comforting the younger children who had been punished or otherwise hurt. Year-in; year-out he watched children coming and going and others being adopted. Richard was a ward of the state until he was 18.

Fortunately, Father Allen Brown became pastor of Sacred Heart parish and, also fortunately, he was there the day that a group of older boys were beating up on Richard, with the team coach watching! Father Brown took Richard under his wing and through the years, became the only father that Richard had ever known, even taking up for him with the Sisters!

Father tried to talk him out of going directly into the service when he was old enough, but in Richard's forthright manner, he told him why and what he saw in his future. Richard's story of combat in Vietnam was fairly routine, it was the bureaucratic actions that had finally left him glad to be out and back home, where Father helped him get into real estate...

Now all of this sounds like a routine life as written here...NOT!

Richard was not willing to take church doctrine as written. He was also not willing to take the things that happened to him in the service. But this young man, in his own special way would speak out, routinely, with the truth. But, if cornered or if something he said would get him in trouble, why, he just as easily lied in order to get himself out of trouble. Of course, he had learn how to lie quite early in his life...

And then it was that later in life, at a property he was considering, he was shocked by an electrical appliance and became unconscious. When he awoke again, he was changed...

And, this time, when he started asking questions, he pressed until he got the truth. Richard Smith learned quickly, that,

he was not Richard Smith...

I will say this for Jack Savage. He is addictive. Invariably, I start reading his books with no idea what it will be about. Then, before long, I'm sucked into the story so far that there is no way not to read until the last page. And, in The Children Shall Be Blameless, I was thrilled when I read the last page and learned what I did! I knew it before, but this novel confirmed that Jack Savage is a special author. I'm still wondering just how much of this story is about his own life, because I can't help but feel that some part is. Maybe the time in Vietnam? If not, he had the ability to enter into the life of an outstanding young man's life, whose life was an important one--one that needed to be written to allow people across the world to also know him. For the first time, I definitely know why biographies should sometimes be written... even if some is fiction or based upon somebody else's knowledge. Truly one of a kind--a wondeful literary tale of one man's life... Read It! You won't be sorry!


Walter “Jack” Savage quit high school and spent two and a half years in Vietnam as a paratrooper and helicopter door gunner, all before his twenty-first birthday. After the war Jack would spend five years looking for something he could stick with. Then one January, he finished a course in radio and television broadcasting. It would lead to a career and began a nomadic journey from small towns to big cities and along the way his other pursuits: acting, art and always writing. After more then twenty years Jack returned to school, finished his Bachelor’s degree and attained a Master’s soon after. And it was during this period of completion that he put together his first work: a collection of short stories entitled Bumping and Other Stories. Two novels: More With Cal and Uncle Bill and State Champions followed.
Jack is the father of a daughter and two grown sons. The idea for The Petorik Thesis and Tales of the Global West began when an old high school friend unknowingly reminded him that he is basically a short story writer who's written two novels. The book includes fifteen new stories including The Petorik Thesis which is a novella. My third novel, The Children Shall Be Blameless, has now been released and is widely available.
Jack is a graduate of the University of Minnesota, Mankato and received his Master’s Degree in Telecommunications and Film at California State University, Los Angeles. He is a veteran stage actor, retired broadcaster and taught film studies at Cal State L.A. for six years. He and his wife Kathy live in Monrovia, California.

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