cover image Cooperstown


Eugena Pilek, . . Touchstone, $13 (324pp) ISBN 978-0-7432-6694-9

Cooperstown, N.Y., home to the Baseball Hall of Fame, is also home to folks whose lives have been shaped (sometimes to their detriment) by America's favorite pastime. As in any small town, there are those who love it and those who rail against the invisible chains that keep them there. Pilek's citizens include a psychiatrist at least as interested in medicating himself as helping any of his patients; a former high school baseball star who seems to have collapsed mentally; a sportswriter who hates baseball; and an eccentric, tippling mayor who will do just about anything to preserve his town's image. It's 1979, and though the local storefronts are slowly turning into souvenir shops, the town still retains its old magic—but a proposed baseball theme park may change that. Pilek, US Weekly 's book editor, gathers her characters together around the mystery of a missing letter, a device that can't quite meld such disparate, dense and interesting story lines, but she has a real feel for the rhythms of smalltown life, even as it's in the throes of change, and a fine hand with her characters and the game of baseball itself. Agent, Amy Williams. (July)