Where Honesty Never Ends.
Note: A copy of this book was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.
It’s 1958, the Giants have just moved to San Francisco, and Snappy Drake, ex-minor league pitcher turned Seals Stadium usher, has found a dead body in his grandstand section on Opening Day. With someone apparently out to frame him, Snappy probes deeper and deeper into the mystery, encountering shady local officials, a smart, fetching female reporter from L.A., and a cast of Bay Area characters who just may or may not be involved. As the pennant battles tighten, the race to stop a madman is running out of time…
Hello and welcome to The Review Board. We hope you are having a great day. Today, the review board brings you a look at “Mystery Ball ’58” by Jeff Polman, brought to us by our very own Mini Truth.
“♪ Take me out to the ball game, take me out to the crowd … ♫” or, not. 😀 LOL
Okay, so, having started with a great one liner, let’s a take deeper look into “Mystery Ball ’58”.
Told in fist person omniscient, “Mystery Ball ’58” is narrated by the main character Snappy Drake, an aspiring ball player. At one point Snappy Drake was a pitcher for a minor-league team and was dubbed Snappy because of the way his pitch snapped when he released it.
Snappy is now feeling sort of down and out, and is disillusioned with the possibility of becoming major-league player. Not that that stops him from constantly trying. Stuck as an usher for the Seals Stadium, Snappy still passes his days watching the game, and, in the form of interior dialogue, being his own version of a sports commentator.
One day, during a routine walk of the stadium seats Snappy stumbles upon a dead body. Not knowing how to react, he runs off. Then, day by day, Snappy realizes that he is coming across more and more dead bodies. This is when the story gets interesting.
In come various characters and a ton more killings and baseball games. Suffice it to say that the story picks up pace when Snappy decides that he’s going to investigate the murders himself; apparently, someone wants to make it look like Snappy is the murderer.
A couple of nucence cops, a “Peanut Killer”, a girl who wants to become a “real” journalist, and a band of merry baseball players later, one finds oneself enthralled in an enjoyable Noir type of story with several twists and turns. Not to mention, very accurate retellings of classic baseball games.
Overall, “Mystery Ball ’58” is a great story. It’s a quick read and is pretty fun in a ominous way. The way the story was told reminded me a lot of “Sin City” or “Spirit” as it has a very intense nordic feel to it.
Having enjoyed this book says a lot about the story as I am not a sports fan. I do, however, have to admit that I was a bit thrown off by the tallying of the scores that was presented ever so often. But, in all truth, I attribute that to the fact that I don’t follow sports, so it was hard for me to understand those segments.
Nevertheless, “Mystery Ball ’58” is a story that I would sincerely recommend to the hard core baseball fan. If you’re not a baseball fan, like myself, you might enjoy it also. Just keep in mind that there might be some language that you might not comprehend. I guess I’ll say it like this; “Mystery Ball ’58” is not a story that is easily followed by a newbie when it comes to the aspect of sport, but if you enjoy vintage noir, then you might enjoy it anyway … like I did.
Survey Says: 9 TRB Stars. This will translate into 5 Stars elsewhere.
Well, there you have it folks. “Mystery Ball ’58” by Jeff Polman has gotten 9 TRB Stars.
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