Great Molinas

Neil D. Isaacs, Author
Neil D. Isaacs, Author Wid Pub. Group $19.95 (278p) ISBN 978-0-9633834-0-2
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Isaacs, an English professor at the University of Maryland, overburdens an intriguing conceit in this fictionalized biography of sports figure Jack Molinas, who was at the center of New York City's college basketball scandals in the early 1960s. Isaacs depicts Molinas as bright and attractive, a talented player who could have pursued a successful career and a comfortable existence but who was inexorably drawn to the dark side. Isaacs tries to give deeper meaning to the life of this legendary con man by placing it in counterpoint with the story of his own alter ego, a Molinas biographer and English professor whom he calls Jesse Miller. His account of his surrogate's life, more described than dramatized, undercuts what could have been a tight and powerful study of amorality. Awkward exposition and unlikely diction further diminish the novel's immediacy. The Jack Molinas story in itself has all the elements of an engrossing novel; Isaacs would have done well to stick to it. (Nov.)
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