Monday, April 12, 2021

Savage Gerry - John Jantunen

It was the word 'apocalyptic' in the description of John Jantunen's new novel, Savage Gerry, that caught my eye. That and the somewhat different title....

What's it about? From ECW Press: ( My thoughts follow)

"A thrilling apocalyptic tale that rushes from the inside of a prison to a world that feels even more dangerous. The End couldn’t have come at a better time for Gerald Nichols.

Dubbed “Savage Gerry” by the media, Gerald Nichols became a folk hero after he shot the men who’d killed his wife and then fled into the northern wilds with his thirteen-year-old son, Evers. Five years after his capture, he’s serving three consecutive life sentences when the power mysteriously goes out at the prison. The guards flee, leaving the inmates to die, but Gerald’s given a last-minute reprieve by a jailbreak. Released into a mad world populated by murderous bands of biker gangs preying on scattered settlements of survivors, his only hope of ever reuniting with his son is to do what he swore he never would: become “Savage Gerry” all over again."

My Thoughts:

I loved having a Canadian take on an apocalypse. What happens when the nuclear power plants malfunctions? When the power fails? When there's a new drug guaranteed to thin the herd? When criminals are sent to mega prisons up north?  When the doors are opened...

Gerry is one of those who is released when The Sons of Adam MC takes down the walls. And what they want - is what they want. Power, anarchy and more. Savage Gerry has earned some respect for his crimes, but doesn't want to stick around to find out what The Sons going to do, so he heads out through the wilderness to try and find his son.

When we meet Gerry, we don't know the details of his background, his crimes and his purpose. As he moves forward, the details are slowly drawn. Initially I found him to be an anti hero, a deeply flawed persona. But my opinion changed with every new situation he found himself in - and his actions and reactions. He's not perfect, but...

Gentle readers, this one's definitely not for you. Violence abounds and the prose are visceral. Grit lit if you will. But it was impossible to put down. Will he make it? Find his son? Find redemption? This is perhaps the biggest piece of the plot - a man trying to make peace with what he's done and picking up the pieces to find the next chapter.

I had expected a bit more 'apocalypse'. It's there but just in the beginning stages. But, Mad Max and Rick Grimes would be right at home here.

I found this interview of John Jantunen that was really interesting. There's a bit of John in Gerry - some of his own story lives with Savage Gerry.

A decidedly different read for me - but one I quite enjoyed.

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