Review: Michael Balkind's second Deadly Sports mystery, Dead Ball, has the AllSport investigators seeking the killer of the complex's Chief Financial Officer.
Bob Thomas was golfing legend Reid Clark's best friend, and one of the driving forces behind the success of AllSport, a vast sporting complex in the Catskills dedicated to mentoring inner-city youth in a variety of sports as well as providing first class training facilities for the country's top athletes. His battered body is found while Reid is giving a tour of the facility to the President and First Lady. The facility is quickly locked down until it can be ascertained that there is no imminent threat to anyone else. Reid had previously been the target of an assassin, so it's immediately assumed that Bob's death has something to do with Reid himself. To make sure everything is being done to solve his friend's murder, Reid calls in his friend and agent, Buck Green, and AllSport's private investigator, Jay Scott, to work in parallel to the local authorities to determine who might have wanted Bob dead … and why.
Dead Ball is probably best described as a cozy for guys. There's a little bit of sports, a little bit of business, a little bit of action, and a little bit of mystery. One can readily imagine the towel-snapping and back-slapping that takes place off camera, as it were. Reid Clark is a revered Arnold Palmer-type character, and though he acts as a focal point in the story, he participates little in the investigation of his friend's murder; rather, he's the person to whom Buck Green and Jay Scott report. These latter two do most of the investigating, though to be fair, there isn't much to investigate. Whodunit is obvious from the start (at least to the reader), and there aren't a lot of suspects anyway, so it's the howdunit that drives much of the mystery here. The plot itself isn't as tightly constructed as it could have been, tending to wander a bit (all sorts of sports analogies come to mind here). Still, taken for what it is, Dead Ball is generally entertaining, and will appeal to (primarily male) readers who enjoy a mystery set in the world of finance and sports.
Acknowledgment: Michael Balkind provided a copy of Dead Ball for this review.
Review Copyright © 2009 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved
Location(s) referenced in Dead Ball: Catskills, New York
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Dead Ball by Michael Balkind — A Deadly Sports Mystery
Publisher: Pero Thrillers
Format: Trade Paperback
Publication Date: July 2009
List Price: $14.95
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Page Author: Lance Wright
Site Publisher: Mysterious Reviews
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