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Saving Red Sox Nation, One Plot Twist at a Time
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.