The Second Son, by Charles Sailor

The second SonFinished 7-31-09, rating 3.5/5, fiction, pub. 1979

“I see the blood, officer.  But this body’s healing.”

The cops looked at one another and then moved in for a closer look at Carlos’s stomach.  A large purple bruise spread across the skin, but the wound was closed.

“See?” said the examining paremedic.  “Nothing.”

The team leader looked at Joseph, who stared  blankly at Carlos.  “You saw it!  Tell them!”

“Yes, it was there when I…” Joseph stopped and the officer finished the sentence for him.

“When you put your hand on it.”  The officer looked scared.  He stepped back from Joseph and asked, slowly. “What’d you do anyway?  What are you–some kind of magician?”

Chapter 8

Joseph Turner is a n ordinary man working construction on high-rise buildings in Manhattan.  One day, while saving his friend, he falls 24 stories.  Joseph walks away without a scratch much to the surprise of the onlookers on the street and he becomes a media sensation.  Just as the attention starts to die down Joseph feels compelled to run into a burning building after the firemen have pulled out to rescue two children.  All three are completely unharmed.  Then he heals a gunshot wound and the world takes notice.  Politicians and church leaders all clamor to gain the support of the cult hero and one organization takes proactive measures by kidnapping him.

I loved the premise.  Who is Joseph Turner and what was happening to him?  Was it real or all a dream?  Joseph was a great hero – strong of heart and mind, generous, open, kind, and non-judgemental.  I really wanted to know what would become of him.

But, as much as I liked the premise and first half of the book, I was equally disappointed with the rest.  It became so glaringly obvious in its intent that it turned me off.  It became very heavy handed and the author’s problem with religion and authority was on display.

I thought the first half was original and fresh and the perfect set-up.  I was caught up in the excitement and the questions, but the second half was all over the place.  It completely lost its focus with its wide range of politics, hit men, the Catholic Church, healings, betrayals, the message of personal healing.  It lost the heart of Joseph’s story, which is what I cared about.

It was a good book and I gave it an extra half a point for originality.  This book was loaned to me by a friend who told me I had to read it.  I’m glad I did.