Customer Reviews: Payback Time
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on September 2, 2010
From the moment I picked up Payback Time I couldn't put it down.

Payback Time is a fantastic book that allows its readers to relate to the protagonist in a number of different ways. Including his demeanor and struggles with weight and recognizing what he wants to do in his life. And it is through these struggles that we are able to see the protagonist, Mitch, grow.

Payback Time is an interesting mixture of a young adult, sports, and mystery novel. It is this unique combination that allows Deuker to completely capture the audience's attention. Whenever the story starts to slow down readers will be swept up into an action packed description of a fourth and out play that Mitch is reporting on, bringing a fresh sense to the book and reviving this adrenaline charged book.

But the real excitement of the story is centered around Mitch, the protagonist, snooping around Angel, the mysterious football player who seems to old and is sensational, yet downplays how good he on the field. Angel's past slowly unfurls in front of Mitch, but when the mystery is solved, and the worst happens, it's up to Mitch to see what kind of person he really is and try to help fix the problem that he created.

While most authors would flounder about with this kind crisis, and try to have the character make decisions that don't make any sense or have them have unrealistic conclusions. Deuker's characters are true and accurate. And it is through his sensational character development that he is able to show the change that Mitch makes, allowing his conclusion to really end with a bang.

Between the exciting football games, the unfolding mystery of Angel, and Deuker's engrossing characters this is a great book. I personally couldn't put it down, and I would recommend it to fans of young adult sports books, mysteries, and anyone just looking for a good book.

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VINE VOICEon October 20, 2010
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This book sounded really good from the write up on it. It has a little mystery and intrigue in the high school sport area. I really liked the start of the book and could relate to Mitch (danny). The story gets really good as Mitch and Kimi try to figure out just who Angel is and where he came from.

The story at the end just falls flat and ends very abruptly. It finishes so fast that you feel like you missed alot about what exactly happened and you want to read more about the characters and their lives.
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on May 10, 2012
If your considering this book and haven't read Gym Candy or Runner, I would suggest reading those two books first. For a kid who loves football, this book might hold their interest. The ending was disappointing.
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on September 16, 2013
Payback Time is a great read for all teens. It is one-third a football story, with excellent descriptions of action packed games, one-third mystery with some excellent sleuthing from the protagonist, and one-third coming of age story with a much more interesting protagonist at the end of the book than the beginning. Daniel True, aka Mitch, is an aspiring newspaper journalist. His dream is to get accepted to Columbia University School of Journalism which means he must have a stellar resume and portfolio of outstanding work on his high school newspaper. He is crushed when his fellow journalists do not choose him to be the editor and is almost defeated when the new editor assigns him to be the new sports writer. Mitch wants to do investigative and in-depth human interest reporting, and he thinks writing about high school sports is a waste of his talent, but he must agree or quit the paper. At the first football practice, Mitch's super smart, super talented newspaper sports photographer, Kimi, notices that one of the new players is better than all of the other team members combined, but the coaches are ignoring him. When the season begins, the coaches continue to pretend like Angel is not a valued football player rarely putting Angel in the game. Mitch suspects something underhanded is going on, and he is determined to figure out what it is. Kimi agrees to help. Mitch and Kimi get themselves in some scary situations when their determination overtakes their common sense. Mitch learns a lot about himself, his talent and the newspaper business as he works to solve the mystery of Angel. Many readers, not as sheltered or naive as Mitch, will solve the mystery before Mitch does, but the story is still enthralling and entertaining. The scenes of the football games are some of the best parts of the story. Author, Carl Deuker, makes the readers feel as if they are sitting in the bleachers with Mitch holding their breath until the last second of the fourth quarter. Readers will also cheer for Mitch who is working hard to pursue his dreams and make his school, his family and the world notice his talents. Even teens who are not interested in sports or journalism will enjoy Payback Time.
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on May 21, 2015
Payback or No Payback

The best book by Carl Deuker is "Payback Time." The genre is mystery. His name is Daniel True, but when he got older, his Mom and Dad started calling him Mitch.The school he goes to is Lincoln High and Mitch works for the school news paper. Mitch wants to be come a famous nows reporter and work for the New York Times. my favorite part was when Mitch became the sports reporter. I give this book a ten star because it is good to read. I recommended to people in Jr. High and above.
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VINE VOICEon September 12, 2010
Daniel True is a senior at his Seattle H.S. He dreams of becoming a journalist. When Daniel isn't voted editor newspaper, he's very surprised and disappointed. To make it even worse the new editor is making him the sports reporter. Daniel likes watching sports but he wants to cover real news.

At school everyone calls Daniel - Mitch, short for Michehlin Man, an unwanted name he got his first day of high school. Daniel accepts the new assignment as sports reporter. When He and Kimi Yon (his photographer and crush) go to football practice they notice a very talented new player, Angel Marichal. Though for some reason Angel is keeping his ability a secret. The coach isn't using Angel to his full capacity. Daniel knows something is up and is deteremined to find out what. Breaking this story might be his big break.

This is Deuker's first novel where the main protagonist isn't an athlete. It was an expected change, but there is still no denying the author's strengths. The sports action is always excellent. The reader can easily picture every play. Though Daniel isn't a player, there's still a lot of football in Payback Time.

Deuker is very good at creating main characters with some depths and expressing their internal struggles

"My gut hurt so much, I didn't even want to move, so instead of going into the house, I sat in the silent car. I'm not the kind of person who will ever make news. I'm too ordinary, and I've known that for as long as I can remember. That's why the movie about Nixon had been such a big deal to me. I could picture myself being like those reporters. I could scratch a story until I got to the bottom of it. The newsmen in Afghanistan and Iraq didn't charge into battle firing guns. They carried cameras and tape recorders and paper and pencils. Those were the tools they used to shine light into the darkness. I thought that someday I'd be brave like them. But tonight I hadn't had the courage to keep my fist clenched around a set of keys."

Daniel and Kimi work very well together. The author also shares some of Kimi's past and goals. The revelation of Angel's secret fell a little short for me. Though, Daniel more than makes up for that. I highly recommend Payback Time, its out now just in time for football season. ages 12up
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on August 6, 2010
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Whether you are new to Carl Deuker's work or an old fan, taking the time to read PAYBACK TIME will pay off. Centered on a high school football team in Seattle, the novel combines the football action of Deuker's GYM CANDY with the intrigue of his thriller, RUNNER.

Instead of using the point of view of a football player, here Deuker creates Mitch True, an overweight sports reporter for the high school newspaper. Teamed up with photographer Kimi Yon, Mitch tries to tackle a mystery surrounding a player on Lincoln's team who looks older than the rest. He's a talented player named Angel Marichal, but Coach McNulty keeps him under wraps and taps his abilities to a limited degree. More troubling still, Coach insists that Angel is a forbidden topic -- no interviews, no photographs, no nothing.

As the Lincoln High team works its way to the State Championships at the Tacoma Dome, Deuker mixes his trademark play-by-play football action narratives with the increasingly high stakes of Mitch and Kimi's investigation. Angel, it seems, has a past -- and it isn't pretty. Does Mitch observe the journalist's code and publish his findings no matter what? And what happens if he's missing a piece of the puzzle and the stakes turn out to be higher than he expected? Mitch is about to learn that investigative journalism is no trade for lightweights -- printing stories has consequences.

Though the ending sequence stretches credibility a bit, the combination of sports and intrigue will keep YA readers -- and most notably reluctant readers -- flipping pages to find out how all of this ties together. In short, with PAYBACK TIME, Carl Deuker has scored again and kicked the extra point for good measure. Recommended.
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on September 29, 2010
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Payback Time may have been my first Carl Deuker novel, but it won't be my last. The story was engaging and suspenseful, and I was hooked in the first chapter.

Dan True, a Seattle high school senior, is on staff at his school newspaper. He is disappointed to be assigned the sports reporter beat after finding out he wasn't elected the editor. He discovers he gets to work with Kimi Yon, one of his classmates and a photographer, as he covers the sports events. Their first assignment is to review the football team. Even though Coach McNulty wants them to focus on the star, Horst Diamond, a childhood friend of Dan's, their attention is drawn to Angel Marichal, a new student with an unbelievable arm and "NFL" level skills. The Coach refuses to let them interview Angel, changes his jersey number for several games, and never starts Angel in the games. Dan and Kimi begin some investigative reporting to try to figure out what's going on with Angel.

Dan's various struggles, with his weight, his relationship with his parents, his crush on Kim, and his desire to be a top notch investigative reporter, just make him more relatable. He displays courage and convinction in his actions. Dan becomes a character you like and want to see succeed.

Mr. Deuker's descriptions of the football games were top-notch and allowed the reader to visualize the action. The mystery of Angel and the development of Dan's character were highlights of the book. I recommend this book, especially to anyone who likes a good story with a lot of football included.
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VINE VOICEon August 8, 2010
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
My kids enjoy Carl Deuker's books and have read all of them. I've read a few myself and found both "Painting the Black" and "Heart of the Champion" to be terrific YA literature with both a good message and suspense. Although I didn't enjoy "Payback Time" as much as either of those books, I did find it a worthy read and those who are Deuker fans won't be disappointed with this one.

"Payback Time" is told in the first-person narrative of Daniel "Mitch" True. True is an overweight high school senior who's the school paper's sports reporter. He fancies himself in the Woodward & Bernstein mold of investigative reporter and manages to sniff out a story surrounding a mysterious new-comer to the high school football team. Various theories are put forth as the story unfolds and Mitch grows in stature (even as he's losing weight) and maturity as the story progresses. There's good suspense surrounding the mystery and the performance of the football team. There's also some good insight into local sports reporting. I enjoyed the book--a rapid read, but was occasionally annoyed at some of Mitch's actions (or failure to be more cautious). Overall--a worthy read from the master of YA sports fiction.
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on August 13, 2012
This book blew me away in my expectations. I was expecting a totally different story from what I got, but that is a good thing! This book will appeal to many readers, not just boys like I thought.

Mitch is a great character. He is motivated and pushes himself when he wants something. When he decides to lose weight, I found myself cheering for him and pushed the bag of chips I was eating away from myself. Kimi is another good character. She is strong, fierce, and goes after what she wants, but she also has a softer side that is afraid.

Deuker threw a twist with this story that I was not expecting. I thought for sure I had the story figured out, but I kept changing my mind throughout the story. In the end, I was so far off the mark it wasn't funny. Mitch and Kimi were such believable characters I was sure they were close to being right in finding out what Angel and McNulty were up to, and just modified my assumptions a little. Nope. Wrong.

Excellent book on following your dreams as well as investigative journalism by young people that goes wrong when they don't follow all possible avenues and believe what they want to before getting all the facts.
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