Book reviews from The Free Lance-Star.
One more hit out of the park
AUTHOR GOES FROM COURTROOM TO DIAMOND
By Sue Baker
The Free Lance-Star
ANY baseball lover will treasure John Grisham’s new book, “Calico Joe.”
Many fans of Mr. Grish-am’s legal thrillers don’t know about the other side of this revered writer: He knows baseball as well as he knows crime. He has played and coached Little League and loves his St. Louis Cardinals.
Faithful readers will remember “A Painted House” that mentions the Cardinals’ early ’50s pennant race. In this book, he uses real players as characters and occasionally you will forget it is fiction.
The No. 1 rule from sandlot to the big leagues is: Do not use the “bean ball,” a highly dangerous throw to the head. This taboo pitch is the event in the story that changes lives with a twist of fate that will prevent you from putting the book down.
The story is narrated by the pitcher’s emotionally bruised son, Paul Tracey, who idolizes a rookie batter. The batter is 21-year-old Joe Castle from Calico Rock, Ark., who is suddenly pulled up from a Double-A team to join the pros. He becomes an overnight star, breaking batting records with each game. Warren Tracey, an over-the-hill pitcher for the Mets is bitter and jealous of the rookie’s sudden fame. Young Paul is at the game where these two will face each other, and he knows by his father’s demeanor what is about to happen.
How these men’s lives change by one terrible instant on Aug. 24, 1973, and what happens years later will remind you of the importance of relationships and that it is never too late for forgiveness.
Sue Baker, die- hard Yankees fan, is circulation services manager with The Free Lance–Star.
By John Grisham
(Doubleday, $24.95, 208 pp.)
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