Book Review: Double Play by Jen Estes

Double PlayDouble Play
A Cat McDaniel Mystery
Jen Estes
Camel Press, April 2013
ISBN: 978-1-60381-942-8
Also available in Trade Paperback

For baseball aficionados and everybody else who enjoys a good crime novel. By turns romantic, dangerous, wacky, twisty and funny, the novel rocks through Buffalo from riverfront nastiness to the upscale homes of overpaid prima donna ball players.

This novel has just about everything, including corruption and digs at the very foundations of the story, the venerable American pastime, baseball. Yet, protagonist Cat McDaniel is a likeable guide into some of the more arcane aspects of the game and its public image. It’s a twisty tale with several surprises along the way that will baffle many readers until the final exposition.

By and large the book is smoothly written and the author’s breezy fast-paced style fits the lightness of the attitude Cat takes to some interesting aspects of her life, such as her relationship with her fiancé and her nightmares over her upcoming wedding. The baseball scenes have the feel and tone of authenticity and the criminal aspects fit nicely like a well-oiled fielders’ glove.

The novel falls comfortably into what this reviewer terms American Cozy, which is a somewhat darker version of the traditional English novel popularized during the golden years of English popular fiction. This is a fun novel to relax and sink into while your favorite team is on the television.

Reviewed by Carl Brookins, June 2013.
Author of Red Sky, Devils Island, Hard Cheese, Reunion.