A critical error.
A Cinderella season cut short.
A star player murdered.
D.C. is recovering from angry riots after one player’s mistake blew the D.C. Federals’ chance at the World Series, and Lt. Sam Holland is determined to unravel the twisted web of motives behind the star center fielder’s death. Was it a disgruntled fan, a spurned lover or a furious teammate?
While Sam digs through clues, her husband, U.S. Senator Nick Cappuano, fights for his political life in the final days of his reelection campaign as financial irregularities threaten his future. It’s a distraction Nick can ill afford with Sam in the midst of another high-profile murder investigation and both of them trying to help their adopted son, Scotty, cope with the murder of a ball player he admired. Determined to bring the killer to justice, Sam must root out the truth before another mistake proves fatal.
Those of us who have been raised around baseball fanatics like my dad and my hubby know that the race for the penant and the World Series win assume white hot proportions. The adoration of hundreds of thousands of fans, the cheers of the home crowd, the hopes and dreams of many kids who believe their favorite baseball player is invincible–all this combines to make a potent mix that can combust at some point in the race toward victory. Thus, when a player on the home team makes an error and allows the other team to win the penant, the city of Washington, D.C. goes a little crazy — well, a lot crazy, actually. But even that isn’t the low point in the senator’s household. It is the palpable disappointment of Sam and Nick’s adopted son that causes their hearts to nearly break. And it is this terrible tragedy that launches this sixth book in a vibrant and entertaining series written by an author whose way with words is about as good as it gets. The story of Sam Holland as a high-profile homicide officer and her love affair and marriage to a U. S. senator have fascinated readers for a very long time, and each time a new addition to the series is released, all of us who have loved these novels are delighted beyond measure.
Yet with all the hoo-haa of the baseball tragedy that engages Sam and her squad in unraveling a mystery, this book is ultimately about relationships: Sam’s with her sexy husband Nick, Sam and Nick’s relationship with Scotty and their growing need to interact positively as his parents, Nick’s relationships in the political arena that can either make or break his political career, and Sam’s on-going relationship with her own disabled father and her extended family. It is at its most basic a love story that winds its way through the challenges of living on the front pages of the daily news. It is about how two people manage their lives even as they know that their love for one another is absolutely essential to who they are. And because of all that, it is a story rich in emotion, rich in the texture of family and friendship, and all of it interwoven with the mystery of who perpetrated they death of a community sports hero.
All in all, it is a marvelous romance/mystery novel and one that is deeply emotional and so very entertaining. As one who reads dozens of books, this one is even now one of my favorites of recent weeks and this entire series has been one that has drawn me back several times. Ms Force writes with a deft hand using an economy of words that makes her characters come alive and the context, though complicated, still make wonderful sense. It is not hard to keep everything straight but there will be no easy answers and the reader will be surprised by the twists and turns of the mystery before all is resolved. Most of all, it seems to me that the author has a better than average awareness of the qualities of this relationship, of how it has developed through several books, of the depth of feeling and connect that Sam and Nick share, and the necessity we readers feel that Sam and Nick deserve all the happiness they can wring out of living.
So be sure and connect with this book and I hope it will be just as enjoyable for you as it was for me. I give it a rating of 4.5 out of 5.
You can read more from Judith at Dr J’s Book Place.