If you follow hockey, you might have noticed an extra team in the league this year — the Las Vegas Golden Knights. This year’s expansion team is the first one since Jacob’s been watching, and I think partly because he can mix and match players to make his own team in NHL ’14, he understood the draft pretty well. Which in turn garnered a bit of excitement in him that I encouraged and nurtured, and voila! Jacob is a newly-minted Golden Knights fan!
When I combined that with my 50by50 efforts, I added a Senators game to my list of activities for the year and it made sense to make it the Golden Knights game (the only time they visit this year). It was just happenstance that it fell on a Saturday afternoon too, which made it easy to take Jacob. Which is odd wording, as it wasn’t like I would have been let out of the house without him. » Read the rest
This is the fourth in the Kate Henry series and is the best so far. Kate is bored — there is a strike in the major leagues and she doesn’t know what to do with herself. So she focuses on her home life. Then Andy Munro gets shot in the line of duty, and Kate is pretty much on her own while Andy recuperates. Lots of tension as Andy deals with the aftermath of being shot.
What I Liked
The focus of the story is on a homeless woman named Maggie who has disappeared, and one of her favorite resting places is covered in blood. On top of that, a mutilated corpse turns up with a very large knife that Maggie used to own. A corpse of someone who knew who Maggie really was, knew her past, and was therefore a threat to Maggie’s security. Some really seedy characters populate the story, including a two-bit child pornographer who has a heart of gold for helping street people. » Read the rest
Dead Pull Hitter feels like it picks up where Gordon’s non-fiction left off: the Toronto Titans have finished in fourth place the previous year and are starting to pull it together for a pennant race; the protagonist Kate Henry is a woman sportswriter who’s covered them for five years; she works for the Toronto Planet which is sandwiched in the news market between the stodgy World and the bimbette-littered pages of the Mirror. At times it was hard to remind myself that this was the fiction category!
What I Liked
The fun doesn’t really take off until after the first body arrives. Up until then, it is basically a baseball story. After that, the murder mystery takes hold. The clues are there for the finding: some obvious, others more subtle. Nicely written, and combines the baseball storylines with an appropriate emphasis on the mystery. And the cop-as-a-romantic-partner and mystery-antagonist-theme is alive and well in the book. » Read the rest
The first five years of the Blue Jays, as covered by a female sportswriter.
What I Liked
Many thoughts assailed me. Sure, I had heard she was nice, came from a respectable family, etc., but we had never met before. What if I didn’t like her in *that* way? After all, there’s the question of chemistry. And she’s an older woman. Worldly. Definitely been around the park a few times. And she’s been known to have 9 guys at a time! Not to mention those wild stories of men in kilts. And then there’s my side of things. What if there were things I didn’t know? What were her expectations? After all, I’m not getting any younger, I was never a jock nor even a lay expert in this area, and I’m not very adventurous. Sure there was that fling with Roy McGregor but that was a father and son thing, not a stated preference. » Read the rest
An arrogant horse-owner in England joins The Great Transcontinental Mystery Race Train across Canada, with the train stopping at several sites along the way for horseraces, with an actors troupe on the train posing as real passengers.
What I Liked
Francis is a master at moving players around in the story and having them interact in interesting ways. His descriptive prose, and his keep-it-simple style, make it easy to both imagine the scene and understand the characters. The sports element is there, as it is in all of Francis’ books, but he again shows his mastery in leaving it as the backdrop against all the other characters’ interactions.
What I Didn’t Like
The overall feel of the book is that similar to a play or film with an ensemble cast — no one is really well done, but most are sufficiently interesting to hold our attention for awhile. » Read the rest