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The Setup Man: A Novel Hardcover – March 11, 2014


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Doubleday (March 11, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385538456
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385538459
  • Product Dimensions: 5.6 x 1.1 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (106 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #856,119 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Johnny Adcock knows he’s fortunate. He’s paid $1.5 million per year for about 10 minutes’ work, about 70 times a year. He’s the Setup Man, whose job is to pitch the eighth inning, or even to pitch to a single left-handed batter. But he’s also a realist. At 35, he’s a senior citizen, a torn ligament away from retirement. So he moonlights as a PI, solving the myriad problems that can befall suddenly rich, usually headstrong young men. In this debut, Adcock’s client is teammate Frankie Herrera, who is concerned that porn tapes starring his wife may soon surface on the Internet. But before Adcock can even begin to investigate, Frankie is dead in an auto accident. What Adcock finds is a convoluted mix of prostitution, murder, Mexican cartels, and retired ballplayers. And while he’s detecting, he’s traded to another team, then abruptly waived. Monday’s plot is inventive, but it’s the verisimilitude of Adcock’s baseball life that makes this one a delight. Adcock is a solid MLB citizen, but he’s aware of the many quirks endemic in baseball’s manners and mores, and he shares them freely with the reader. Here’s hoping he has many more seasons and many more cases. --Thomas Gaughan

Review

"The Setup Man teems with sex, violence — and baseball....[T.T.] Monday has pitched readers a dandy tale. He deserves promotion to the starting rotation of thriller writers."
--St. Louis Post-Dispatch

"A Home Run!  What else can you call the funny, riveting, absolutely first-rate debut by T.T. Monday about a professional baseball player who moonlights as a private investigator?  I loved this book and its hero, Johnny Adcock. (Note to reader:  I'm not even a baseball fan.)”
--Christopher Reich, New York Times bestselling author of Rules of Betrayaland The Prince of Risk

“I'm a sucker for baseball fiction. I'm a sucker for private detective fiction. That makes me a double sucker for The Setup Man by T.T. Monday. I was more than happy to ride shotgun with Johnny Adcock as he battled Mexican drug lords, surrendered dingers to steroid-muscled designated hitters and described everything with a sense of humor even in the midst of great physical or emotional pain. Much fun, much fun, much fun.”
--Leigh Montville, New York Times bestselling author of The Big Bam, and Ted Williams

“In The Setup Man, T. T. Monday trots out thrills and humor the way the Yankees trotted out Ruth and Gehrig. He adds a Murderers' Row of compelling characters, captained by relief pitcher/detective Johnny Adcock, a left-handed Travis McGee. And then there's the baseball, as realistic as in any novel about the sport (I've read them all): You'll feel as though you're alongside the players in the bullpen, dugout and clubhouse. Like spring training, Adcock's next adventure can't come soon enough.”
--Keith Thomson, New York Times bestselling author of Once a Spy

“A sexy mystery with a rakish lead and a baseball plot that's ... pitch perfect.”
--Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel

"Adcock finds himself in a world of murder, porn, prostitution and Mexican cartels that makes one long for the simpler, good old days of baseball’s Steroid Era...Come to think of it, this rookie thriller writer has homered his first time at bat."\
--The Free Lance-Star

"Don’t shy away from this mystery if you’re not a baseball fan. The industry is seamlessly interwoven into the story and you’ll pick up all you need to kno
w without any effort. If you are a baseball fan, dive in headfirst....This is the author’s first thriller, but I hope it’s not his last."
--Suspense Magazine

"Monday has a “Dragnet”-like, just-the-facts style and offers lots for baseball fans to enjoy as well, with lines like: 'I’ve always marveled at how much cops look like out-of-shape second basemen — or maybe how much second basemen (Jeff Kent, for example) look like in-shape cops.'"
--New York Post: This Week's Must-Read Books

"
Monday delivers an all-star performance with this series debut. Here’s hoping that Adcock has a more than a few innings left in him."
--The Chronicle-Herald (Halifax)

"Johnny Adcock knows he’s fortunate. He’s paid $1.5 million per year for about 10 minutes’ work, about 70 times a year. He’s the Setup Man, whose job is to pitch the eighth inning, or even to pitch to a single left-handed batter. But he’s also a realist. At 35, he’s a senior citizen, a torn ligament away from retirement. So he moonlights as a PI, solving the myriad problems that can befall suddenly rich, usually headstrong young men....Monday’s plot is inventive, but it’s the verisimilitude of Adcock’s baseball life that makes this one a delight. Adcock is a solid MLB citizen, but he’s aware of the many quirks endemic in baseball’s manners and mores, and he shares them freely with the reader. Here’s hoping he has many more seasons and many more cases."
--Booklist, Starred review

"T.T. Monday’s prose is wry, funny and just smartass enough...It helps in the pleasure if the reader knows baseball — Monday rates very high on the game’s inside stuff — but even if you can’t tell a hanging slider from an RBI, you’ll still likely appreciate the book’s sense of fun."
--Toronto Star

"Filled with baseball lore, Monday’s novel is an amusing and entertaining literary thriller."
--The Daily Beast

"A throwback Southern California mystery in modern pinstripes....A treat for readers of mystery or baseball novels, this debut will be especially enjoyable for fans of both."
--Kirkus Reviews

"There’s plenty to like here. The main characters have intrigue; the relationship between Adcock and venture capitalist Bethany Pham is fun; and the whole baseball background lends a nice touch to what could be a continuing series. If you like the sport and mysteries, you might want to give this a try."
--Bookgasm.com

"Monday’s clever debut introduces 35-year-old Johnny Adcock, a Major League Baseball player winding down a 13-year pro career and developing a sideline as an investigator whose clientele consists primarily of fellow ballplayers....Monday deftly describes the perks and pitfalls of life in pro ball—the highs, the lows, the boredom, the fragility—and the temptations. Monday...has delivered a rare double—a book that succeeds as both a mystery and a baseball novel."
--Publishers Weekly

"Featuring a colorful cast of characters, both on and off the field, and enough details about professional baseball to feel accurate without losing the nonfan reader, this debut is a fast-paced mystery that is both a satisfying whodunit and an entertaining look behind the scenes of professional athletes’ lives. It should appeal to baseball fans and readers looking for a complex, contemporary mystery novel."
--Library Journal 

Customer Reviews

It just seems too far fetched.
Patricia L. Forde
Great main character and a good cast of other characters, a few interesting plot twists and plenty of action.
Young@heart
If you like baseball and mysteries this is your book.
Tim McGuire

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Orrin C. Judd VINE VOICE on March 4, 2014
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Just in time for Spring Training comes this fine private eye novel with a hero who is a LOOGY for the San Jose Bay Dogs. Johnny Adcock has had a solid carrer as a left-handed reliever who is only called on late in games to get the opposing team's left-handed hitters out (thus, a Left-Handed One Out Guy).

But in planning for a career beyond the game, he started checking up on other players wives for them. He's become the semi-official gumshoe of America's pastime.

Then his catcher--Frankie Herrera--comes to him with a more unusual problem. Before they married, Frankie's wife starred in a low-rent porn film and someone is getting ready to blackmail them with it.

Before Johnny can even get into the case, Frankie and a young girl die in a car crash, but the seductive widow pushes him to continue. Johnny, with the help of current and former teamates, pursues leads as more bodies drop and the case wends right to the heart of the game.

Author T.T. Monday handles the blend of baseball and noir quite well. I only noticed one baseball mistake--a player can't appear in the majors until he's added to the 40 man roster. And my only quarrel with the story is that Johnny accepts sudden violence and engages in criminality a bit more casually than we might expect him too. He's also painfully slow to figure out who the bad guy is.

But one hopes that the author plans a series because on the basis of this debut, there could be some really fine adventures to come.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on April 8, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
I loved The Set-Up Man for a lot of reasons. I'll just cut to the chase and list my top five: 1. It's gum-shoe noir at its finest without having to hearken back to the past. 2. It's a great send-up of Bay Area culture - where a million dollar a year pro baseball pitcher is considered vaguely down-and-out and has to pick up private eye work on the side. 3. Johnny Adcock is Sam Spade meets Tug McGraw. 4. I'm great at guessing plot lines and I just wasn't sure where this one was going. 5. There's going to be another one, right?
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Format: Hardcover
Knowing that T.T. Monday’s debut mystery novel is titled THE SETUP MAN might conjure up thoughts for readers that the book is about a criminal with the special ability to frame someone for a crime or to make the necessary arrangements for a successful criminal enterprise. Neither description is correct. Instead, the term refers to an aspect of the modern baseball game, a relief pitcher who fills the gap between the starting pitcher and the closer.

Johnny Adcock is a setup man, and a very specific one at that. He is a left-handed pitcher whose job description entails coming into the game in the late innings to face a left-handed batter: “In an average week I spend approximately two hours throwing a baseball, including warm-ups.” Baseball wisdom says that left-handed batters have difficulty facing left-handed pitching. Left-handed pitchers are at a premium in baseball, and many continue to pitch well into their late 30s. At age 36, Adcock is still employed in the big leagues and earns well over one million dollars a year for facing the occasional left-handed batter. But even Adcock knows that the day will come when he no longer will be able to get even left-handed batters out. So he has begun to prepare for life after baseball by doing some occasional private investigating. It turns out that Major League baseball players who earn obscenely large salaries often find themselves in need of a discreet detective who has brains and ability to handle unique problems.

After a game in which Adcock has failed in his setup role, teammate Frankie Herrera approaches him and confides that he is having a “problem with his wife.” The problem involves a sex tape she made before their marriage.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Marc Drucker on March 12, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Got the book yesterday and finished it in one reading. Fun read that engrosses you as you read. Love the genre and it seems that there is a great new addition to it. He covers baseball with enough detail to make a fan (like me) satisfied. You are immersed in the text feeling as if you are the park with the team or on the mound with the protagonist. The baseball content shouldn't scare off the casual or non-fan as there is enough background to give the necessary context. I was captured and thus I finished it much more quickly than expected. I am hopeful that this becomes a series of books as I look forward to seeing what Adcock gets into next.

Go Bay Dogs!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Adam Korn on April 3, 2014
Format: Hardcover
I completely enjoyed this book, cover to cover (or whatever the electronic equivalent is). As a lifelong fan of baseball and of detective novels, I found the mix of genre extremely interesting. T.T. Monday's clever wordplay made the read fun and exciting, while his descriptive talent made me believe I was actually there. Being a California native, I especially loved jumping between the Bay Area, L.A. and San Diego in this wild chase. A great read all around!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By H. Bala TOP 500 REVIEWER on March 31, 2014
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
If, like me, you'd been railing at the universe for the dearth of fiction literature that mashes up murder mysteries and sports, well, rail no more. The other day T.T. Monday observed this dire need going unaddressed and jumped all over it. Ergo, The Set Up Man.

Meet Johnny Adcock, a southpaw Travis McGee. Johnny is a lefty relief pitcher in the major leagues. At 35 years old, he's steadily on the decline. His hard-throwing days are in the rear view. Nowadays he relies more on guile and experience, on pitch location and on changing speeds, to outsmart the guy at bat. But that's his day job.

Johnny moonlights as a gumshoe, his clientele more often than not composed of his baseball colleagues. It's a side gig that started ten years ago on a whim, and that's long enough ago for word to get around. His teammate, Frankie Herrera, a promising backup catcher, approaches him about a damning porn video featuring his wife that surfaced on his cell phone, anonymously sent. Obviously, Herrera dreads the impending blackmail demand. But before Johnny can even launch into his snooping, things take a turn for the worse. So, yeah, put your feet up for a bout of good reading as this likable, aging professional athlete try to stay relevant in his sport even as he's up to his neck in an alarming case that yields murder, sex trafficking, and savage Mexican cartels.

Cracking open the book, I had this vague hope that T.T. Monday would live up to that tradition established by perhaps my favorite mystery/suspense author Dick Francis. Francis, once a jockey, managed to work in varied elements of the horseracing world into his stories and somehow made this a welcome intrusion, kudos to his knack as a storyteller.
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