Mike Lupica, Author . Putnam $24.95 (304p) ISBN 978-0-399-15210-8

Most of New York Daily News columnist and ESPN commentator Lupica's work, fiction (Red Zone , etc.) and nonfiction (Summer of '98 , etc.), is grounded in the world of sports. This thriller/mystery tells of a high school basketball team whose winning season is threatened by the murder of its manager, Bobby Ferraro, and allegations of sadistic initiation rites. Former sportswriter and television commentator Ben Mitchell has quit the business and retired to self-imposed exile in South Fork, his Long Island hometown, after one of his columns exposed a coach's lies about his war record, which led to the coach's suicide. Ben spends his days reading newspapers, watching television and endlessly rehashing his responsibility for the coach's death. When novice sportswriter Sam Perry, a high school senior, shows up with what looks like a sensational story, Ben finds his old reporting juices flowing again. Soon the two of them are crashing around town investigating Ferraro's murder, angering the citizens of South Fork, who want nothing to interfere with their team's climb to the state championship. Real-life news reports of out-of-control hazing by high school sports teams give Lupica's tale a ripped-from-the-headlines thrill, but the slow pace and predictable plot may tire readers not fascinated by the sports angle. Agent, Esther Newberg. (Jan.)

Forecast: Lupica's many fans will like this one, but don't look for interest among general thriller readers.

Reviewed on: 11/15/2004
Release date: 01/01/2005
Genre: Fiction
Peanut Press/Palm Reader - 978-0-7865-6059-2
Open Ebook - 978-0-7865-6058-5
Hardcover - 479 pages - 978-0-7862-7527-4
Mass Market Paperbound - 306 pages - 978-0-425-20674-4
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