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"Body Not Recovered by Alan Spector is an excellent choice for any reader interested in either revisiting memories of the era, learning more about this turbulent era, or both.  Spector has written a fascinating account of what could -- or maybe should? -- have happened in the wake of a classmate's reported death.  This novel seems to be the author's attempt to reconcile and to think through the events surrounding his classmate, and the war.  Others who harbor similar feelings will find Body Not Recovered gives the reader much to contemplate.  This is a healthy thing, as this era and its debates left -- and leave -- on one untouched.


"The author biography tells us he's emotionally invested in the novel...This novel took me into the era.  The author writes convincingly.  I got to know the characters, and could feel the angst and fear of the times.  The book is well paced and worth reading.  Kudos to Spector."


What Readers are Saying


"Body Not Recovered should be on the NYC Best Sellers List! What a great read! Riveting, moving, brilliantly written. What a tribute to all of the Vietnam veterans and all who lived through such tumultuous times." 

Michael, St. Louis, MO


"It was like nibbling chocolate." 

Grant, Fort Myers, FL


"Sorry to see it end." 

Skip, Lakewood, NJ


"Brought back a lot of memories." 

Jerry, St. Louis, MO


"You made the characters real, as they experienced the anguish of the war that we all experienced." 

Dee, Houston, TX

"Alan Spector has created a gift for the rest of us.  I've just finished reading it and am left with a wide range of emotions, all good, and much of it leaving me in a heap of tears.  An incredible story, well told.  A range of interesting characters beautifully woven together in a compelling storyline...It belongs on the NY Times best seller list; I am serious, and will not be surprised when it gets there.  Get it.  Read it.  You'll be glad you did." 

Tim, Hudson Valley, NY

A young man, a generation, and a nation--

changed forever by a war, painful choices,

and a conflicted search for honor and peace


The True Story: On June 17, 1966, Naval Airman M. J. Savoy, Alan Spector's high school classmate,was killed when his planecrashed into the South China Sea off the coast of Vietnam.  The search for M. J. and his crewmates was unsuccessful, and they are listed as Killed in Action/Body Not Recovered.


The Inspiration:  What if M. J. did not really die in that crash?  What if it were staged for some reason?  Body Not Recovered is inspired by and dedicated to M. J. Savoy.


The Novel:  When 1964 University City High School graduate and teenage loner, JR Spears, enlists to fight in Vietnam for the noblest of reasons, he begins a journey that takes him from committed warrior to reluctant soldier to underground antiwar leader.  Confronted by a conflict they increasingly find abhorrent and unjust, Spears and a small cadre of comrades conspire, with both commitment and foreboding, to stage a helicopter crash, fake their deaths, and surreptitiously return to the states to join the protest movement.


These deserters are not the only ones who risk their lives and personal freedom or whose families are ravaged because of the war.  When Maggie Blessings's brother is killed in action, she runs away from home to join the antiwar movement, leaving her mourning parents.  John Muccelli, Spears's high school classmate, fulfills his lifelong dream of becoming an FBI agent, only to be conflicted by the tactics he is being ordered to use to hunt down protest instigators.  Bernice Williams, Maggie's mentor and lover, turns from influential antiwar leader to zealous bomber to victim of her own fanaticism. 


The war, the protests, these characters, and the soul of a nation converge in the supercharged 1960s and 1970s environment of the Bay Area.

Judge's Comments


Alan Spector