The Red Zone

Tim Green, Author Warner Books $23.5 (325p) ISBN 978-0-446-52298-4
A new publisher, a new title (this book was reviewed as Marauders in PW on Mar. 3, 1997, but was never issued) and an alleged rewrite are among the alterations in Green's latest sports-based suspense title. And, while the action still clips along at a sprightly pace, Green fails to improve the by-the-numbers resolution that originally plagued this story about a lethal NFL linebacker who goes on a killing spree. Florida Marauders star Luther Zorn becomes a prospective client for attorney Madison McCall (first introduced in Green's Outlaws) when McCall's boss forces her into the role of sports agent. But Zorn goes from starter to suspect when team owner Evan Chase is killed in a suspicious swimming accident, and McCall quickly finds herself defending a client who faces a pileup of damning evidence, including his affair with Chase's wife, a parking ticket that places him at the scene of the crime and some incriminating scuba gear that the police discover at his girlfriend's house. McCall calls on her partner to investigate the case, and he digs up several clues hinting at a conspiracy involving moneyed interests and a corrupt cop. An attempt to arrest Zorn leads to an extended chase after the linebacker kidnaps McCall and holds her hostage, with the body count mounting as Zorn races toward a confrontation with a pivotal figure from his past. Green's strength is his ability to write action scenes that effectively present the intricacies of pro football, and McCall delivers another winning performance despite a rather generic supporting cast. But the cardboard bogeyman who surfaces in the climax remains just as ludicrous this time around as Green fumbles away his second chance to fix a formulaic ending. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 08/03/1998
Release date: 08/01/1998
Genre: Fiction
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