The Setup Man
Doubleday Books, March 2014
T.T. Monday is a pseudonym for an author of other books. This one goes in a different direction from his historical fiction. If you are a fan of baseball, particularly professional ball, and you like quirky characters from a broad range of professions, including baseball, this novel will likely be appealing.
Johnny Adcock is a proballer approaching the end of his career as a left-handed pitcher for the San Jose Bay Dogs. He’s what’s known as a set-up man, called on to pitch one or two late innings as a strategic ploy. Often, he’ll face only one or possibly two batters. Consequently, he has a good deal of down time. As a result of modern technology, Adcock has a cell phone always at hand so he’s able to conduct his extra-curricular investigations on the side with little inconvenience, sometimes while sitting in the dugout. At other times Johnny Adcock gets so far away from his primary occupation that you might forget he’s a baseball pitcher.
But the author brings him back to the central theme which is a lot of inside baseball stuff, much funny, even hilarious. The plot of this novel involves Adcock in trying to retrieve a porn tape featuring a player’s wife. Pursuit of the video leads to the unmasking of an elaborate professional international prostitution ring, murder, and serious inside baseball manipulations. Ducking and weaving through gunfire, waivers, beatings and sex, Adcock manages to provide some amusing philosophy about life and also about baseball.
Reasonably well written, the novel is overly complicated, but devolves ultimately into a rational explanation although a couple of characters are left abandoned.
Reviewed by Carl Brookins, July 2014.
Author of Red Sky, Devils Island, Hard Cheese, Reunion.