on Nov. 5, 2013 :
I've loved baseball and reading mystery books since I was a child. It is so rare that I get to combine the two. I don't recall seeing a category Baseball mystery but if there is one this belongs in that category.
Marshall Connors is an umpire who worked his way up through the ranks. So when his mentor taps him for the position of Chief Umpire for the World Series he is stunned and honored. When his best friends are involved, his world is rocked - not necessarily in a good way.
The story alternated between omniscient and first person. In this particular story it works well together.
I have put the other two books in this series on my wish to read list.
If you love mysteries and baseball this is a winning combination that I highly recommend.
(review of free book)
on May 5, 2012 :
As a baseball fan, I'm pretty much a sucker for anything to do with my favorite sport. But at the same time, I'm also very critical.
Game 7: Deadball by Allen Schatz is a mystery thriller with the 2008 World Series as a backdrop. For the record, I was at that World Series, so it was interesting to see how certain things would be incorporated into an event I attended.
The first thing I noticed was how well the book was written. As an indie author, Schatz's writing is very polished. It was a refreshing start because it meant there would be no cringing throughout the book from poor grammar or something else that a good editor could have helped.
It allowed me to just enjoy the book, which I did.
Marshall Connors, a Major League Baseball umpire, is at the center of the book. Connors has to cut his vacation short as he's asked to become crew chief for the 2008 World Series. Not a bad gig, but mysterious and dangerous messages start popping up around Connors until he realizes he's in the middle of a large revenge scheme.
There are a number of characters to track in the book – and at times it felt as though there were too many. During certain passages when there was a mention of a lesser character, I had to go back and remind myself of whom Schatz was writing about.
The difference with Connors and the rest was Schatz's characters was the use of perspective. Connors' passages were written in first person while the others were written in third person. It took some getting used, but I found it interesting.
When I asked Schatz about it he said it was a way for him to incorporate a bit of himself into the character. He wanted the focus to be on Connors although I found myself intrigued by another character, CIA agent Thomas (Suggestion: maybe a book on Thomas' adventure and how he became the person he is).
The book was quick with short sections and chapters only hitting on important moments for each character. There were no long poetic passes. Just action.
It was an enjoyable read and Schatz did a good job of building suspense.
There are two more books currently in the series and I intend to check them out as well.
(reviewed 66 days after purchase)
on Sep. 12, 2011 :
I thoroughly enjoyed this novel. If you like crime novels and baseball, you will probably like this. Some really good characters and an interesting plot. Well worth reading. I took off a star only because the book seemed to need an atmosphere that was a little more "noir." But that may be just me and the way I like my crime novels.
(reviewed 21 days after purchase)
on July 4, 2011 :
Allen patiently brings me step after step following the intricate details of intermixed motives and plots. He has a methodical and logical approach in bringing the story to the reader, and he makes sure that the reader does not feel overwhelm while at the same time feels entertained.
I do not know anything about baseball-craze in US but I still thoroughly enjoy this book. Give it a go.
(reviewed 59 days after purchase)
on May 30, 2011 :
This book kept me guessing, and kept me reading, which is a beautiful thing. The storyline was complex, but easy to follow. Looking forward to following Marshall Connors on his many adventures.
(reviewed 36 days after purchase)
on April 10, 2011 :
Wow! This one kept me guessing and reading! Great characters and an even better storyline!
(reviewed 38 days after purchase)
on March 22, 2011 :
There may be other novels featuring baseball umpires as lead characters, but I haven’t read one. It sounds almost like an exercise in a creative writing class: Set the person who is supposed to remain invisible at the center of a story involving love and hate, success and failure, excitement and tragedy. Author Allen Schatz has done that and done it well.
For a good portion of Game 7: Dead Ball, protagonist Marshall Connors knows he’s in the middle of a life-or-death situation. He just doesn’t know whose or what to do about it.
Chosen to umpire the World Series as a surprise replacement for the crew chief who apparently suffered a heart attack, Connors must call balls and strikes on his boyhood friend Terry O’Hara, the ace of the Philadelphia Phillies pitching staff, and Terry’s former USC teammate Nik Sanchez, catcher for the Tampa Bay Rays.
Terry and Nik’s relationship was ruined long ago and now is defined only by animus. A third Trojan teammate, AJ Singer, had an affair with Terry’s mother, and when her husband discovered it, things got very ugly for all involved.
As the Series bounces between Florida and Pennsylvania, millions of fans watch the games on television unaware of the real drama swirling around Marshall Connors. Notes are surreptitiously delivered to him at home plate; meaningful looks are thrown by league security men, and an old-fashioned baseball “message” is delivered by catcher Sanchez – a fastball allowed to blast Marshall in the facemask.
Between games, though, Marshall manages to work in a little romance and tries to help his friend Thomas Hillsborough, an ex-CIA spook who is sort of a law-enforcement-stud-without-portfolio, figure out what’s going on.
You might expect a mystery involving a baseball umpire in the World Series to center on fixing games. Schatz happily has chosen to go in a less obvious direction.
Without giving away the plot, the crimes here include serial murder, kidnapping, extortion, and felony battery. Throw in the inter-generational adultery and some unpaid gambling debts, and you’ve got lots of reasons for people not to like each other.
Game 7 has a huge cast of characters – FBI agents, Major League Baseball officials, ball players, bad guys, innocent victims, and umpires among them. It is to Schatz’s credit as a writer that they’re reasonably easy to keep straight.
If you like baseball and thrillers, Game 7: Dead Ball is a must read. Even those who are only so-so on the national pastime but enjoy complicated plots with well-drawn characters will find Game 7 most satisfying.
For reviews of other low-cost ebooks, please see www.greatbooksunder5.blogspot.com.
(reviewed 19 days after purchase)
on March 6, 2011 :
I just finished reading this book this morning, and, as with all great reads, I feel sad that it ended. I love when a writer introduces me to a character and I get attached.
I think what I loved most about this book is how Schatz artistically weaved details into every scene. Everything, down to the smallest fragment, popped off the screen. I love when this happens!
I found myself saying when I was a page away from the end of a scene or chapter that I would stop reading for a bit to get some of my own writing down, but when I read the last word, my eyes kept right on reading the next section. I needed to know what happened next!
Great job! I'll be looking to read more from him.
(reviewed 10 days after purchase)
on Feb. 17, 2011 :
I couldn't put this book down! So many twists & turns, I had to find out how this story ended. Wow!
(reviewed 2 days after purchase)
on Feb. 14, 2011 :
I couldn't stop reading - I had to know what happened. Definately kept my attention.
(reviewed 8 days after purchase)