Monday, April 25, 2016

Book Review: The Perfect Game by Stephen Paul

by M. J. Joachim

Talk about a thrilling murder mystery! This book had me on the edge of my seat from the moment I started reading it. The characters are easily relatable to lots of people anyone might know, and the baseball backdrop definitely intensifies the story. The back and forth, from one group of characters to the next is very well done, intertwining them in various ways, connecting all the dots, while still making you wonder what the heck is really going on, and how this intriguing mystery might be solved.

At one point about a third of the way into this book, I was convinced it was aliens causing all the murders. Honing in on cues like antenna and the dark disguise the perpetrator wore, I was sure this was going to turn into a bizarre science fiction novel from another world. There were elements to this effect regarding energy transfers and the like, so it made perfect sense with where my mind was going.

Not so subtly written between the lines was a story about a broken man trying to reconcile the breakup of his marriage and family, while dealing with these things a bit inappropriately at times. The main character, Kyle, was definitely someone I’m sure many guys can relate to, and his story gave me pause as I reflected on the all too real pain and suffering he must be going through, all the while getting caught up in the middle of a murder mystery that caused him to come clean and be that good guy he so earnestly always strove to be, while weighing the consequences of messing up his life more than it already was, and constantly being bombarded with people on his cheering squad either telling him not to worry about causing a bit of trouble to cover his ass now and then, or other people telling him to do the right thing even if it cost him.

In the end, well now, I can’t tell you the end, because I make every effort to keep some elements of a book in my reviews hidden, opting to let the reader discover and enjoy the tantalizing twists and turns. I did the same thing recently in my review of Mercer Street, because there’s an overall message in there that a lot of us will benefit from, but some of us might not want to read, unless it’s captured in a really good historical fiction novel like the one Mr. Heldt wrote. Readers don’t want reviewers to tell them all the details. They just want to know if the book is worth reading and why, which is one reason I try to avoid including spoiler alerts in my reviews.

On another note, my copy of The Perfect Game would definitely benefit by being reformatted. I’m not sure if Mr. Paul already updated the version I read, so I’ll leave that up to him to determine if any action is required. The editing was fine, but the overall pages and words on the page were a mess, with huge gaps and spaces in them. The type size was also way too big, something that can easily be fixed so it reads better on a tablet, without its owner having to make adjustments on his or her device. Including a Table of Contents for user-friendly navigation would also benefit this book, though it was easy enough to find my place through bookmarks as I read it.

If you like murder mysteries, I’m pretty certain you’ll enjoy this book. It’s a nail biter, edge of seater, and the ending didn’t let me down at all.

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Happy reading, writing and whatever else you do,

M. J.

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