The Setup Man
A Johnny Adcock Mystery by T. T. Monday
Review: Johnny Adcock, a relief pitcher for the San Josť Bay Dogs major baseball team, has a sideline business of helping out teammates — indeed, anyone in baseball — with a personal problem that needs investigating. So when backup catcher Frankie Herrera asks him for a favor, he's happy to do so, in The Setup Man, the first mystery in this series by T. T. Monday, a pen name of historical novelist Nick Taylor.
Herrera's problem is that someone is blackmailing him, threatening to release a video of his wife in a pornographic video made before they were married but otherwise not released … yet. Johnny takes the case but less than 24 hours later, Herrera is in an automobile accident, dead along with a woman, who was not his wife. Johnny thinks that maybe the case is closed, until Maria Herrera, the widow, asks him to continue his investigation, to honor her late husband's memory. It isn't long before Johnny locates the man, who made the film, only to have him murdered before he can even talk to him. Johnny believes there is little else to do, only someone is under the impression he knows more than he does and goes after him next.
The mystery plot of The Setup Man is really rather thin, taking a very long time to get underway and wrapping up very quickly, probably too quickly, within the final pages. Instead, readers are treated to an insider's view of professional baseball, most of which is, to be sure, interesting in and of itself, but almost none of which is even remotely related to the investigative storyline. (One might argue that the players themselves are the target of a criminal operation, and thus deserving of all the attention, but that seems like a stretch.) Take away all the baseball talk, and what's left is a short story, and a really short one at that. The author deserves credit for creating a different sort of PI, albeit one who's more aloof than not and not always all that likeable, but character alone, even a major league baseball pitcher, does not sustain a series.
Acknowledgment: Random House provided a copy of The Setup Man for this review.
Review Copyright © 2014 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved
Location(s) referenced in The Setup Man: San Jose, California
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The Setup Man by T. T. Monday — A Johnny Adcock Mystery
Publication Date: March 2014
List Price: $24.95
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Page Author: Lance Wright
Site Publisher: Mysterious Reviews
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