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.

22 thoughts on “The Second Son, by Charles Sailor

  1. Violet says:

    I feel really bad when I love the first half and not like the second half so much. It kind of spoils the entire book doesn’t it? But glad you can say god thing about it.

    With so many books being published everyday, originality should definitely be rewarded with a start or a half 🙂

  2. Sherry Guthrie says:

    I’m not sure if this is the book I am looking for. It depends if the author’s mother’s name is Virginia, then this is the book I am looking for.

  3. robert says:

    I have loved the book since it came out. the thought that the world might not be ready because the messiah comes back in a form they do not recognize i think is awesome and after what the catholic church and the mormon church have done in involving themselves against gay marriage while sweeping under the rug their own scandals makes the author seem more relevant than ever.

    • Beverly says:

      The Second Son has got to be my favorite book of all time.
      It is my understanding that Charles Sailor did not write another book, but as far as I am concerned, how could he write a better book than this. I have read it and re-read it. I would like to purchase copies for my friends but find it difficult to obtain. Does anyone have any idea where I could locate some copies?

      • radams says:

        THE SECOND SON is now available on Kindle, NOOK, and I think IBOOKS. New book THE MAN WHO RODE THE TIGER will be out in late Oct or early Nov.

  4. Sydney says:

    you can find good copies on amazon.
    we have a few copies in each language, but only because the author is my dad.
    for future information, your right. he didnt write another book.
    second son was too hard to top

      • sydney says:

        For all you Second Son fans, if you have a facebook, join the group! Also, I DO believe that not only will Joseph make an appearance soon, but perhaps a whole new story is in order. 32 years later…maybe on 9/23 something will appear…

  5. robert says:

    I am sorry that your dad did not write anothe book but it is hard to top a book like that. I wish they would make a movie out of that book your dad was so good at writing in my mind the screenplay is the book itself

  6. Jim S says:

    I read it in 1980 when I was a young ironworker- heard about it from a co worker. One of my favorites. Just found it again last week and am enjoying it as much as 30 years ago. Such a pity he never wrote another.

  7. Dan says:

    I spent time with my elderly Father recently when my Mom passed away, and my Dad gave me his time worn copy of “The Second Son”. He said he had read it a few times over the years and it was one of his favorites. Whenever he lent it out, he insisted it be returned. When he gave it to me he told me he wouldn’t be needing it back…

    I liked the book and will obviously treasure it as a keepsake. After much searching on the internet as to further writings of the author I came upon this site. It’s great to see a proud daughter recognizing her Father’s work. Give my regards (and my father’s) to your Dad!

  8. Janice Joyce says:

    For some reason this book came to my mind today,searched it out on Google.My Father loved this book,like him im a voracious reader,Can still see the Front Cover in my mind, seems to have touched lots of people one way or another,for me will always remind me of my Father,im going to find and read again,my sister claimed my Fathers Copy,Maybe Mr.Sailor only wrote one book because that was enough,whatever,i think he accomplished…

  9. Serge Guitard says:

    I read that book in english and in french. I have no doubt that it’s my favorite novel of all time.I firmly believe that the catholic church bought the rights to it in order to prevent a movie that would show a real bad image of them.

  10. radams says:

    reedited version THE SECOND SON is now available on Kindle, NOOK, and I think IBOOKS. New book THE MAN WHO RODE THE TIGER will be out in late Oct or early Nov.

  11. Renee says:

    This is so exciting to read. I just read The Man Who Rode the Tiger by Charles Sailor and immediately started The Second Son afterwards. So for it is wonderful and I can not wait to get home and read more, especially after this thread.

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