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on September 18, 2008
Rick Shefchik's second Sam Skarda detective novel moves with the taut pace of a good pitcher's duel. Hired by the owner of the Red Sox to investigate a blackmail threat that asserts the 2004 Series was fixed, Shefchik's protagonist quickly finds that few loyalties can be assumed, not only among the bookies and hoods from whom he seeks information, but within the Sox front office for whom he works. Chapter after chapter, Shefchik finds ways to surprise the reader with plot twists and character nuance, along with settings from Marblehead to West Hollywood to Caracas that crackle with rich detail. One chase scene through L.A. is as good as "Bullitt" - just in printed form. A tavern in Southie smells of poorly wiped counters and stale Schaefer's. Shefchik dares the reader to accept the premise that a thrown Series from very recent memory might be possible (don't worry, Sox fans, all characters on the field or in the front office are wholly fictional), and carries it off with a narrative deftly seasoned with baseball lore. My warning: don't crack "Green Monster" on a transcontinental flight when you have brought along work reading to do. If you do, there's a good chance your briefcase will remain unopened underneath the seat in front of you.
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on October 24, 2008
Shefchik has done another nice job with Sam. The plot seems at first to require a suspension of disbelief but I think that it doesn't require citizenship in Red Sox Nation to comprehend the possibility of the premise of the story--that a baseball game could be affected by one player's decision to not play his best...Ask most people in Boston about Manny's behaviors and how they affected the Sox...But while the story has baseball in the background Rick has crafted a story with interesting characters from the semi-organized crime world. Nothing complicated here, just a good story with some very interesting twists that offers good entertainment. I can now go back to reading Gertrude Bell's life history to get to sleep faster.

I look forward to the next Sam Skarda story. Will Caroline come back?
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on January 29, 2014
Fenway as everyone knows is a national baseball icon with their left field wall known as the Green Monster. So the idea of a baseball star being involved in mayhem is a thin thread. If you like local scenes, ( which I do) this book might appeal to you. The plot has some merit but while I got a mild kick out this book, not losing any sleep reading it at night. Give it a twirl , you probably will have some fun and wish the Sox luck in repeating their world series win for 2014
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on February 3, 2015
I liked this book. Good mix of baseball and mystery. Didn't give it five stars because the premise is just a bit too unbelievable. But all in all a good read.
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on March 30, 2016
Enjoyed the book. Was surprised at the ending.
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on February 16, 2016
Kind of a stretch but interesting enough that I wanted to finish.
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on July 1, 2016
Just as expected
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on March 23, 2014
Great for sports enthusiasts. But I liked it too and I am not one of those people. My husband loved it.
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on July 29, 2008
As a fan of Shefchik's first book Amen Corner, I was hopeful that more would be forthcoming. Green Monster is the second in the Sam Skarda series and it does not disappoint. Shefchik brings the reader quickly into a suspenseful plot with international intrigue, a little romance and a short deadline to avoid blowing the lid off the Red Sox end of the Curse of the Bambino. This book was difficult to put down and is written in a way that you keep saying "one more chapter, one more chapter." A great book for the summer, a great book for the baseball fan, a great book for anyone who likes a good story.
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on July 16, 2009
As hard-boiled detective novels go, this one wasn't so bad. It wasn't good either. I read it because I like crime fiction and I am a baseball fan. But enough already with this sub-genre. Put it to rest. Hard-boiled detective novels contain too many of the following tired elements:

(1) The disillusioned detective is a former cop with a bullet wound received in the line of duty. Sometimes the bullet is still in him and sometimes his ex-partner was killed, and the hero is haunted by that.

(2) The detective is either a bachelor or is divorced--but is not married as the story takes place. In either case, his phermone levels are high. That is, "dames" are attracted to his virile self.

(3) The detective is good with his fists and with a gun. He is seen in action several times during the book.

(4) You can bet there's a "doll" mixed up in the plot somehow, and you're never quite sure whether to trust her or not. Probably not. In any case she has long silky hair, a great figure, and she just can't wait to jump into bed with the detective.

(5) The reader is treated to a tour of the underbelly of cities and is introduced to all kinds of nefarious characters who threaten the detective. But he socks or shoots several of them before he prevails.

(6) The "Kingpin" criminal always turns out to be someone you were led to believe was a good guy--or already dead--or a rogue cop--or whatever.

(7) Often the chief crook, in the last chapter, holds the detective at gunpoint and tells him just how and why this caper came down. Guess what happens next.

It is time to drive a stake into this sub-genre. It's what ails "Green Monster," among other things. I kept having the nagging suspicion that I read this fifty years ago--long before the book was written.

The "among other things" would include a propensity to give detailed driving instructions for every move; being able to get around easily in a large, strange city and never making a wrong turn or pausing to look at a map; taking a gun on an international flight without even a hint of a question from airline secruity; having a man walk around with a bullet hole through his bicep and act normally for hours, etc. etc. I know some defenders of this book will think this is picky, but cliches, errors of fact, and flaws of logic take away some readers' acceptance of the plot. My acceptance, at least. Maybe your level of acceptance is different.
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