Author’s fourth novel centers on divine interviews

Jan 25, 2016

LE ROY — God, Jesus, Satan and Mark Twain walk into a diner...

It sounds like the beginning of a joke, doesn’t it? But it’s actually the premise of a new book written by local author Jack Slutzky.

His fourth novel, “The Destination is the Journey: Man Plans and God Laughs,” is all about an investigation leading up to a potential apocalypse.

Set in the fictional town of Wharton in Upstate New York, “Destination” follows the lives of a group of four friends called the Old Men’s Club. They are sought out by God, since He believes they hold the key to restoring humanity in the world. Afraid to go back on his word to Noah — that he would never flood the world again — he sets out to find a way to save humanity. That’s when he finds the four men.

Roger Brown, Harlan Cooper, Thomas Mitchell and Peter Wells are good, honest men who have all seen tragedy in their lives. Every Thursday morning, they gather for breakfast at the Friendly Family Diner. But then they are summoned by God for a series of interviews. Knowing he couldn’t do all of them himself, God recruits Jesus, Satan and Mark Twain to each interview one of the men.

Why Mark Twain?

“He was the balance,” explained Slutszky. “He had a way of looking at life in an objective manner. Satan on one hand, having been God’s favorite angel and having been relegated to Earth, is into evil; that’s his job. And he really wants to do that job well. Jesus, on the other hand, is there to save the world. I wanted a balance between the three that could look at something objectively and express the negative, the positive and the truth in between. And that would be presented to God. (Twain) is also a very honest man.”

At the conclusion of each interview, the four men each plead humanity’s case and ask God to give humans a second chance. Slutsky’s leaves story open-ended, forcing the reader to ponder God’s decision.

While the setting is fictional, Slutzky said he based many of the locations on those found in Genesee County. The towns are based on Le Roy and Batavia. The diner is even based on the building that is now Smokin’ Eagle BBQ in Le Roy.

The idea for the Old Men’s Club is also biographical, as it stemmed from Slutzky’s own morning meetings with friends at a local restaurant.

“It just gave me an opportunity to look at where I am, because I love where I am,” he said. “And I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.

“I gave me the opportunity to really talk about livign in a small town, good people with a really profound inner concept, one that’s really today it’s necessary for people to think about what’s going on in this world and how can they as individuals save it and make it a better place.”

Originally from Brooklyn, Slutzky moved to Le Roy several years ago and lives with his wife, Adrianna.

Slutzky self-published the novel through RoseDog Books. It is available for purchase atwww.rosedogbookstore.com.

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by Matt Krueger, The Daily News (1/23/2016)
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