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The Player: A Mystery (Carter Ross Mysteries) Hardcover – March 4, 2014


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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Carter Ross, the hero of this high-spirited novel, book five in the series, is a reporter right down to the tip of his ballpoint pen. His idea of a good guy is someone who returns phone calls right away. His friend wishes he’d get better pants. He’s curious about the world. He can listen if he has to, but he’d really rather talk. Parks begins his story in good news-feature style—unadorned English with a pulse underneath, compulsively readable—and the topic is still fresh. A developer’s project is tearing up ground, neighbors are developing flulike symptoms and dying. Readers may groan when Parks abruptly ends this narrative for a disquisition on Carter’s love life. Fortunately this seems to bore Parks, too, and we’re back to the good stuff: a painstaking inquiry into a real-estate scam with murder at its core. Parks tries for a high-concept finale, but the novel really ends when we learn what the moneybags are up to. Ink-stained heroes are a dying breed. Enjoy this one while you can. --Don Crinklaw

Review

"A highly entertaining tale and one of the best portraits of a working reporter since Michael Connelly’s The Poet."—The Washington Post

"What makes Parks such a fantastic storyteller is his main cast of characters, all of whom feel real. Parks has quietly entered the top echelon of the mystery field."—RT Book Reviews (Top Pick! 4 ½ stars)

"Expect a complicated, thrilling ending with a splash of mayhem. Parks, a gifted storyteller (with shades of Mark Twain or maybe Dave Barry), shows his mastery of the comic absurd behind serious journalism."—Library Journal (starred review)

"Muckraking has rarely been so meaty or so funny."—Kirkus (starred review)

"Engaging…Parks smoothly blends grit and wit."—Publishers Weekly
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Product Details

  • Series: Carter Ross Mysteries (Book 5)
  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Minotaur Books (March 4, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1250044081
  • ISBN-13: 978-1250044082
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 1.2 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (46 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #481,510 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Brad Parks is the only author to have won the Shamus, Nero and Lefty Awards. He received the Shamus (for best first private eye novel) and the Nero (for best American mystery) for his debut, FACES OF THE GONE, the first book in history to take both awards. The Lefty (for best humorous mystery) went to his third book, THE GIRL NEXT DOOR. The series, which features sometimes-dashing investigative reporter Carter Ross, also includes EYES OF THE INNOCENT and THE GOOD COP. It has received starred reviews from Booklist, Library Journal, and Kirkus Reviews. Shelf-Awareness has deemed the Carter Ross books "perfect for the reader who loves an LOL moment but wants a mystery that's more than empty calories" and Library Journal has called the series "essential reading" and "a refreshing tonic for the mystery soul." It will continue with a fifth installment, THE PLAYER, in 2014. Parks is a graduate of Dartmouth College and spent a dozen years as a reporter for The Washington Post and The Newark, N.J.) Star-Ledger. He is now a full-time novelist who lives in Virginia with his wife and two small children.

Much Too Long (And Sometimes Silly) Version:

Brad Parks started writing professionally at 14, when he discovered two important things about his hometown newspaper, The Ridgefield (Conn.) Press: One, it paid freelancers 50 cents a column inch for articles about local high school sports; and, two, it ran most submissions at their original length. For Brad, that meant making more money writing than babysitting. For the parents of the girls' basketball players at Ridgefield High, that meant glowing accounts of their daughters' games that ran on for no less than 40 inches.

This launched Brad on a 20-year journalism career, one that continued at Dartmouth College, where he founded a weekly sports newspaper that he ran out of his dorm room. After graduating Phi Beta Kappa, he was hired by The Washington Post, becoming the youngest writer on the paper's staff. Two years later, he moved to The (Newark, N.J.) Star-Ledger. A sportswriter who later switched to news, he covered everything from the Super Bowl to the Masters, from small-town pizza wars to Hurricane Katrina. His work was recognized by, among others, the Associated Press Sports Editors, the National Headliner Awards, the National Association of Black Journalists and the New Jersey Press Association, which gave its top award for enterprise reporting to Brad's 40-year retrospective on the Newark riots. He was also a two-time finalist for the Livingston Award for Young Journalists (sometimes called the "Junior Pulitzers").

While on assignment for The Star-Ledger in 2004, Brad covered a quadruple homicide in Newark that provided the real-life launching point for Carter Ross, a fictional character who bears no resemblance to Brad beyond their shared height, weight, eye color, hair color, skin color, charmed upbringing, sartorial blandness and general worldview.

Brad left the newspaper industry in 2008 to pursue fiction-writing. In 2009, he published FACES OF THE GONE, which sold through its first print run in nine days and went on to win the Nero Award for Best American Mystery and the Shamus Award for Best First Mystery. It made Brad the only author in the combined 60-year history of those awards to win both for the same book. Library Journal called Faces of the Gone "the most hilariously funny and deadly serious mystery debut since Janet Evanovich's One for the Money," while Yahoo.com opined that Brad was "the literary love child of Evanovich and (Harlan) Coben."

The next installment of the Carter Ross series, EYES OF THE INNOCENT, also went back to print nine days after its release. Library Journal cheered it was "as good if not better (than) his acclaimed debut" and The Wall Street Journal called it "engaging." Meanwhile, readers on a popular book review website voted Carter Ross "The World's Favorite Amateur Sleuth" in a 64-sleuth, tournament-style bracket, where he beat out Agatha Christie's Miss Marple in the finals (Brad's explanation of the upset: "I'm on Twitter. Agatha Christie isn't."). He was also named one of "Crime Fiction's Sexiest Authors of 2011" (for which there is no explanation, beyond blindness).

THE GIRL NEXT DOOR, the third Carter Ross adventure, released in March 2012 and climbed to No. 3 on the Baker & Taylor Fiction/Mystery Bestseller List. It was nominated for a Lefty Award for best humorous mystery, and Kirkus Reviews placed it on its Best Fiction of 2012 list. Publishers Weekly called it "a Sopranos-worthy ragout of high drama and low comedy" while Booklist lauded it as "a masterpiece" in a starred review. RT Book Reviews warned, "Reading will be compulsive."

The series continues with THE GOOD COP. A fifth Carter Ross novel is also written and awaiting publication. An enthusiastic public speaker, Brad will serve as Toastmaster at the 2014 Left Coast Crime. He has also been known to burst into song at bookstores, libraries, book conferences, and other places where no one was thoughtful enough to muzzle him. When not writing, he is a washed up jock, a closeted community theater nerd, a father to two and a husband to one. He lives in the tidewater part of Virginia, where he is currently working on the next Carter Ross mystery.

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By K. M. Hammond on March 4, 2014
Format: Hardcover
This is the 5th book in the Carter Ross Mystery Series. Ross is an investigative reporter with the Newark Eagle Examiner. He’s funny and self-deprecating and I found that I really like this character.

Carter takes a call-in from a woman who he initially thinks is crazy. Jackie is telling Carter that everyone in her grandmother’s Ridewood Avenue neighborhood are getting sick, including her grandmother, Edna Foster, who has recently died unexpectedly. She’s looking for help and Carter smells a story, and after interviewing some of the neighbors, he thinks there’s something local and dangerous that could be slowly killing people.

The Ridgewood Avenue area was largely industrial and there was a large scale commercial construction project right down the street, McAlister Arms. Carter visits Vaughn McAlister to ask him if his project has unleashed some toxin into the air and McAlister denies it, saying the state EPA has supervised the cleanup of the land and it has a clean bill of health. But hours after talking with Carter, Vaughn is found dead. When a second dead body turns up, Carter starts to wonder if someone is cleaning house, and if so, who? Throw in a trio of hitmen, the mob, and an angry ex-girlfriend, and you have the makings of a fast paced book that I finished in a few evenings. I found myself cheering for Carter Ross, both in his investigation and screwed-up love life. The book was also full of well-placed humor and I found myself laughing out loud on more than one occasion.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By S. H. Paterson on April 9, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I am a big fan of Brad Parks. ALL of his books are good, hence all of the awards he has won. This story was fun to read and held my interest.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By chestertownchic on April 8, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I love mysteries and I love those with some humor too - this author is fun to read and I can't wait to read the rest of his books
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Drwo on April 4, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Brad Parks' Carter Ross is a character not unlike Harlen Coban's Myron Bolitar - Ross is a reporter with no money but both are bachelor's with close ties to their childhood. Although Coban's hero is a well to do sports agent with a best friend who can step in when the going gets tough, Ross is on his own.

Ross is employed by a newspaper in Newark, NJ, in love with his boss, Veronica, but still won't follow orders and wanders off assignments into more interesting stories. In this novel, he is in big trouble over some environmental contamination that is making people sick. Trying to track down the source of the contamination, of course, alerts the bad guys who want to shut him up.

There is a nice and unexpected twist ending. All in all, well written, entertaining and it appears that Parks has a franchise going.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Benoit Lelievre on June 4, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
It took me a while to understand what Brad Parks was trying to say with THE PLAYER, but once I got the hang of it, it was an unexpected blast. The mystery series is a genre that doesn't have much novelty to offer, but a clever, multi-layered HUMOROUS crime novel is NOT something you see everywhere. Brad Parks has probably created the most niche market ever with the adventures of journalist Carter Ross, but he owns every inch of it.

I first started reading THE PLAYER thinking it was a serious, run-of-the-mill crime novel. Then I was like: 'it's impossible, he's messing with me', then I started picturing the scenes in the wildest possible ways and laughed out loud. Think Kafka meets Monty Python meets a random late night series of the 80s on cocaine and you get THE PLAYER. Very cool, unexpected speed bump in the rather flat landscape of mainstream mysteries.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Southern Bibliophile on June 3, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
My step-mom introduced me to the Carter Ross mysteries and I've read every one. Parks has created the perfect character in Carter Ross: he's hilarious yet humble. Tenacious yet down to earth. I loved finding out the latest between Carter and Tina and the mystery elements were also top-notch. I simply love this series.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By gail weston on April 25, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Brad Parks`s writing gets better with each new book. His character, Carter Ross, surprises the reader, and his friends with the introduction of family adding another dimension to his characterization.

We are grabbed immediately into the mystery--and the book becomes another all nighter! Couldn't put it down.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Don Carver on April 11, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Interesting and moved at a quick
pace. Developed the characters nicely. Paints a good scene and leaves you wanting more.
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