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Thursday, January 3, 2013

Sometimes You See It Coming by Kevin Baker

Genre: Sports Fiction

Setting: 20th century America

First Sentence:  The only one who was there at the beginning, the only one who is always there in the middle of everything, was the Old Swizzlehead, aka Rapid Ricky Falls, who was the closest thing John Barr ever had to a friend.

A few weeks ago, I was prowling through my local used book store when I spotted Kevin Baker's books.  All of them intrigued me, so I picked Sometimes You See It Coming because it is his first novel.  And boy, was that a great choice.  Normally, I don't read sports stories, but this novel was a page turner from the get go.

John Barr is one of the best players to ever play the game.  He can hit for power and average.  He is a gold glove in the field.  He can throw runners out at home plate from the outfield.

Off the field, he is an enigma.  He came out of nowhere.  He has no friends.  He doesn't drink. He doesn't date. and he lives alone.  But no one cares, because with him on the team, they are pennant contenders every year.

Then came the horrible year.  A new manager has messed up everyone on the team.  Except John Barr.  With his steady play, the team has fought its way back to the series.

Then a note found in John's deceased mother's papers throws John into a horrible slump.

It's up to a teammate and a reporter to find a way to get John out of his slump, and rescue the series.

I enjoyed how Baker organized this novel like a sports memoir.  He skips from  person to person as they relate stories from John Barr's life and career.  The mystery of Barr's life is slowly revealed.  For me,  the last few chapters flew by as I read to discover the solution to the mystery, and the results of the the series.

This novel would make a great movie, and it was an entertaining read.

Sometimes You See It Coming

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