T.T. Monday's debut unconventional baseball novel "The Setup Man" is a great fusion of America's pastime and the private detective novel. Monday has an ear for the game, and the pitcher batter confrontations ring true and authentic. The book is full of wit and humor, but it stands out and sparkles because Monday successfully marries the baseball novel with the private detective genre.
Some baseball players sell cars, some announce games, some coach and then there is Johnny Adcock, who provides services to his fellow ball players. Adcock is a relief pitcher, an eight inning specialist, who also moonlights as a private investigator. Adcock's team wants him as a closer and when that does not work he is traded to another team, where he has to pitch against his old team mates. He faces real pressure playing a game.
But in his sideline, he faces real life pressure. For ten years he has helped ballplayers who need to find out if there wife is cheating on them, or someone is trying to hustle them. Now, the young upcoming catcher Frankie Herrera has hired Adcock because he is being blackmailed by someone who has found out about his wife's sordid video past, and barely after hiring Adcock, the player is killed in a car accident with a young woman, not his wife, in the car. Adcock suspects foul play.
Adcock is challenged by Herrera's wife to find the blackmailer and the clues lead to an ingenious prostitution ring that is targeting ballplayers. Soon enough Adcock is ducking bullets and real gunmen, who want to make a lot of money and need to get rid of Adcock. Will Adcock be able to douse this fire?
Its a good baseball story, but more than that its a good mystery.
Its a winner in any game.