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It’s often been said that liberals can’t see the forest for the trees. But if you ever see the critters – bears, deer, squirrels, etc. – running en masse through the liberal forest, you should instantly know why:
A new Michael Savage book has been released.
With his latest, “Abuse of Power,” you just know liberals are a bit more frustrated and probably frightened, given Savage’s reputation as a bloody saber lopping-off liberal talking heads. The animals are running, because Savage has stretched his wings as writer, offering a novel to his repertoire.
I won’t go into the detail of who Savage is. (His fame as a radio host and author are common knowledge.) Yet one aspect of his public persona is worth mentioning, because it impacts his maiden voyage as a writer of fiction.
In 2009, the Huffington Post reported:
“Britain on Tuesday published its first list of people barred from entering the country for allegedly fostering extremism or hatred, including Muslim extremists, a right-wing American radio host, an Israeli settler and jailed Russian gang members.”
Wow, it is as Isaiah said it would be: One day people would see evil as good and good as evil. The “right-wing” radio host, of course, is Savage. He is herded into a stall along with other pariahs like Israeli “settlers” and Vladimir Putin’s nephews.
Look, I believe Michael Savage is a prophet in our world today. With that sacred cloak comes an added burden in the form of persecution from other media and, it seems (Great Britain) even states themselves.
Yet in that experience, a seed of this sensational new novel was planted. The protagonist in “Abuse of Power” is Jack Hatfield, a former political commentator now flagged as an extremist fomenting violence and hatred.
(Savage is, incredibly, still on the U.K. list. So he knows the character of Hatfield quite well.)
Now to the novel itself.
When Hatfield is relegated to obscurity as a freelance news producer in San Francisco (a long drop from his perch as a commentator), he finds himself dropped in the middle of an international terror plot. Providential, I’d say, since the experience basically applies to Savage’s real life: His unvarnished truth each day, to millions of listeners, is a gift from God. And I don’t care who hears me say it.
The plot is basically this: Hatfield goes along for a ride with the SF bomb squad. When the routine car-jacking investigation gets underway, military grade explosives are found in the car. When the FBI encourages Hatfield to stay out of it, he realizes this is just the tip of a very big iceberg. The unfolding, pulsating thriller plot takes him to Tel Aviv, Paris, London and back to dear old San Fran. There he works with a Yemeni intelligence officer, and a former Green Beret, to uncover a plot that would cast a giant shadow over 9/11.
Besides the rollicking plot, I love the detail that Savage/Jack provides. For example, moving through London via cab, he looks up at Big Ben – after all, Savage was able to visit the city at one time – he glances at his Hamilton Gilbert watch and notices the clock tower is off by a minute! I like to think the vintage wristwatch is 14 karat, at least.
There is also a scene in which Jack is being tortured with an electric baton, by a couple thugs. Eventually (OK, it’s a Hollywood moment), he manages to free a hand and, after one thug leaves, he manages to subdue the other. Jack is able to apply his own torture to the groaning “ape” who is moaning on the floor after a punch and kick from Jack, but … our protagonist refrains, realizing he can refuse to stoop to barbarism. It’s a nice reminder of the morality at play in the dirty world of fighting terror.
Savage also displays his understanding of nuance, as it applies to the War on Terror. At one point, when Jack is introduced to a young man named Faisal, he studies the reserved Muslim carefully, to determine if “the young man’s idea of Islamic philosophy was similar to al-Fida’s and included killing in the name of Allah.” He doesn’t automatically assume Faisal is a radical.
(The author also makes reference – in what could be an off-putting moment for some readers – to Jews, Muslims and Christians all praying to the same God.)
Overall, the engaging plot is gritty enough to tell us that Savage himself has seen a lot of life, and has an understanding of the issues that plague us today, including the fatuousness of the media.
Frankly, I’d love to see this made into a film, but I’d give it a twist. Rather than casting Dustin Hoffman or Robert DeNiro in the role of Jack, use Savage himself! After all, who could be more irascible than the writer?
I give this novel a big thumb’s up. The pace, characters and plot are terrific. Mostly, though, I love it because it presents Savage’s worldview – which I think is useful to our society – in a new way. Entertaining, yes, but also highly instructive.
“Abuse of Power” is superb. You will enjoy it thoroughly.