Category Archives: Sports

A Review of This Dark Road to Mercy by Wiley Cash

This Dark Road to Mercy by Wiley CashThis Dark Road to Mercy: A Novel
by Wiley Cash

Baseball permeates this book. Everything connects to baseball. It takes place at the end of the 1998 baseball season. Sammy Sosa and Mark McGuire are both hitting home runs with an eye to breaking Roger Maris’ record. But this isn’t a baseball story.

This is a story of two young girls who end up in foster care after their mother dies. They receive better care in their foster home than they did when living with their mother, but it’s still a foster home. Their dad, Wade, a washed up minor league pitcher, who used to be a teammate of Sosa, steals a sack of money from a gangster. He knows that they will track him down, so he wants to get out-of-town, and he wants to take his daughters with him. So he steals them from the foster home and leaves Gastonia, North Carolina.

Mr. Cash tells this story though the eyes of three of the characters. Easter Quillby is the older sister of Ruby. Brady Weller is the girls’ guardian. He is trying to find Easter and Ruby before they are hurt. Robert Pruitt lost an eye when Wade’s fastball hit him in the face. He is hired to find Wade and get the money back, but he has a lot more on his mind. He is filled with steroid fueled rage, and hates Wade.

I enjoyed this story very much. The way that the story is told though three different viewpoints works very well. Mr. Cash does a very good job of bringing the characters to life. You are drawn in and feel afraid for Wade and his girls. The backdrop of baseball and steroids and home runs makes everything feels authentically dated, but brings up current steroid thoughts at the same time.

I give this book 4 1/2 Stars out of 5 and a Big Thumbs Up! This book is more than a thriller, it has real characters that you will care about, so if that sounds like your kind of thriller, I strongly recommend This Dark Road to Mercy.

I received this Digital Review Copy for free from

Book Description
Release date: January 28, 2014

The critically acclaimed author of the New York Times bestseller A Land More Kind Than Home—hailed as “a powerfully moving debut that reads as if Cormac McCarthy decided to rewrite Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird” (Richmond Times Dispatch)—returns with a resonant novel of love and atonement, blood and vengeance, set in western North Carolina, involving two young sisters, a wayward father, and an enemy determined to see him pay for his sins.

After their mother’s unexpected death, twelve-year-old Easter and her six-year-old sister Ruby are adjusting to life in foster care when their errant father, Wade, suddenly appears. Since Wade signed away his legal rights, the only way he can get his daughters back is to steal them away in the night.
Brady Weller, the girls’ court-appointed guardian, begins looking for Wade, and he quickly turns up unsettling information linking Wade to a recent armored car heist, one with a whopping $14.5 million missing. But Brady Weller isn’t the only one hunting the desperate father. Robert Pruitt, a shady and mercurial man nursing a years-old vendetta, is also determined to find Wade and claim his due.

Narrated by a trio of alternating voices, This Dark Road to Mercy is a story about the indelible power of family and the primal desire to outrun a past that refuses to let go.

Product Details
Hardcover: 240 pages
Publisher: William Morrow; First Edition edition (January 28, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0062088254
ISBN-13: 978-0062088253
Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 5.9 x 0.8 inches
Shipping Weight: 11.4 ounces

About the Author

I deeply love my native state of North Carolina, especially its mountains. I hope my love for this region is evident in A Land More Kind Than Home’s portrayal of western North Carolina’s people, culture, and religious faith. While A Land More Kind Than Home revolves around a young autistic boy who is smothered during a church healing service, the novel’s three narrators all represent my experience of growing up in North Carolina and being raised in an evangelical church.

Like Jess Hall, the younger brother who secretly witnesses the death, I often found myself sitting in church and waiting for something to happen. As a boy I was promised that I would recognize my salvation when I felt Jesus move inside my heart; however, just as Jess does after his brother’s death, I attempted to rationalize the mysteries of Christianity, and I soon realized that we often use faith to fill the empty spaces in our lives. Like Adelaide Lyle, the church matriarch who straddles the divide between religious faith and old-time folk belief, my own religious beliefs are rounded out with a healthy dose of skepticism. While I’m always suspicious of those who pray the loudest, I can’t help but acknowledge the tug on my heart when I witness a baptism, and I can’t account for the inexplicable peace that comes from humming an old-time gospel. But I most identify with the character Clem Barefield, the local sheriff who must sift through his own tragic past to solve the mystery of the boy’s death, because, like Clem, I’m guided only by what I can perceive of this world, and I’m hesitant to get lost in following those who claim to be led by a spirit from the next.

I began writing A Land More Kind Than Home while working on my Ph.D. at the University of Louisiana, where I spent five long years sweating, celebrating Mardi Gras, and missing the mountains of North Carolina. While living in Lafayette, I took a fiction workshop with Ernest J. Gaines, who taught me that by writing about home I could recreate that place no matter where I lived. Gaines made this clear to me one afternoon while we were visiting an old cemetery near the plantation where he was born. He pointed to a grave marker and said, “You remember Snookum from A Gathering of Old Men? He’s buried right over there.” While none of the characters in A Land More Kind Than Home are based on people who actually existed, they’re all amalgams of the types of people I knew growing up. In creating these people and the place they live I got to watch the sun split the mist on the ridges above the French Broad River. From my desk in Louisiana I pondered the silence of snow covered fields. While living in a place that experiences only summer and fall, I watched the green buds sprout on the red maples, and I was there when their leaves began to shrivel before giving way to the wind. I lived in two places at once, and it was wonderful.

I became a Southern writer because I wanted to recreate the South that I know, and I learned to write about the South from the writers I loved. Because of this, I knew it was important to garner support for A Land More Kind Than Home from authors like Gail Godwin, Fred Chappell, Bobbie Ann Mason, and Clyde Edgerton. These writers wield an enormous influence on my work, and I have no doubt that they can say the same for the writers who came before them. Gaines often recalls William Faulkner’s invocation of Oxford, Mississippi as a little postage stamp of earth that he continually mined throughout his career. Gaines did the same thing in his Louisiana fiction. That’s what I tried to do in A Land More Kind Than Home. My next novel is set in the same region of North Carolina. Fortunately, this part of the country is much larger than Oxford, and I can’t imagine ever running out of stories to tell about it.

The book description is from Amazon.  This Dark Road to Mercy: A Novel

A Review of Power Fade by Keith Gockenbach

powerfadePower Fade

By Keith Gockenbach

South Nine Publishing: December 2012

Power Fade is a well written mystery thriller that will keep you interested through the many twists up until the surprising conclusion. Mr. Gockenbach uses his knowledge of professional golf to make the tournament portions of the book read as quite authentic, but he doesn’t overpower you with golfing technicalities and terminologies. You don’t need to be a golfer to enjoy this novel.

This is a fine debut novel and I recommend it. I give this book 4 stars out of 5 and a thumbs up.

I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads.

Book Description

Release Date: December 2012

When the Game Turns Deadly

Professional golfer Roy Gilbert wakes, dazed and defenseless, in the mangrove swamp of the Everglades. Across the bay hangs the wreckage of the small Cessna his friend John piloted on their sightseeing trip. Roy has no memory of the crash, and John is nowhere to be found.

Roy escapes the swamp and rejoins the tour, but danger follows. Why did the plane crash? Who is chasing him? Where is John? Who can he trust? The answers lead Roy on a perilous journey to a breathtaking climax.

In the style of Dick Francis, Power Fade brings mystery and suspense to the high-profile world of professional golf.

Product Details

Paperback: 290 pages

Publisher: South Nine Publishing (December 2012)

ISBN-13: 9780983873754

Language: English

Original title: Power Fade

About the Author

Keith Gockenbach grew up in Robinson, Illinois, playing golf, reading mysteries, and caddying on the PGA Tour.His first attempt at writing was his 5th-grade short story, The Fly-Paper Stick-up, which was not, and will never be, published.

Keith has a BS in Chemical Engineering from Clemson and an MBA from MIT. He retired in 2004 after 27 years in the chemical industry to pursue his dream of playing professional golf, playing in the 2006 U.S. Senior Open, the 2007 Senior Open at Muirfield, and two Champions Tour National Finals. Keith’s golf memoir, Inside, Outside, and On the Ropes, was published in 2011.

Keith lives in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida, with his wife, Lynn, and his two standard poodle rescues, Rose and Dazzle. His second novel, Deadly Loop, is scheduled to be published in the spring of 2013.

The book description and author information is from Goodreads. Power Fade

A Review of Suicide Squeeze (The Fourth Outfielder Series, #1) by R. W. Bennett

Suicide SqueezeSuicide Squeeze (The Fourth Outfielder Series, #1)

by R. W. Bennett

Mark Mercer (Merc), a veteran outfielder for the Boston Red Sox, has been rehabbing a shoulder injury in the offseason. He is an experienced long distance runner and so he has been assigned a young outfielder, Carlos (Cinco), to mentor. Merc’s job is to get the guy who is going to replace him in shape, so that on opening day Carlos will be playing his position in the outfield and Merc will be sitting on the bench. This might be a problem for some players, but Merc is a team player and knows that he will have plenty of chances to play, so everything is cool.

Merc is taking Carlos on a morning run in the mountains of West Virginia when they are surprised by an explosion not too far off the trail that they are running on. They take cover and are able to observe a hijacking of a truck carrying explosives to the nearby mine. Carlos tosses a large boulder though the windshield of one of the terrorist’s vehicles which then runs off the road and down the mountainside. When the other SUV stops, Merc is able to bean the leader of the group with a rock, but the driver drags his boss back in the truck and they drive off.

From this point, Merc and Cinco have to get ready to play Spring ball and evade the terrorists, who are out for revenge. They also have to deal with the normal demands of Spring Training, while trying to figure out what the terrorists are planning.

This is a fun beginning to a new light-hearted mystery adventure series with a baseball backdrop. The tone and writing style reminds me of a cross between the “Elvis Cole” series by Robert Crais and the “Myron Bolitar” series by Harlan Coben, so if you like either of these, you are certain to enjoy this new series. I am looking forward to reading more about Merc, Cinco and the rest of the characters playing for the Boston Red Sox. I give this book a big thumbs up and 5 stars out of 5.

I received this book from the author. All he asked was that I read it and give it an honest review.

Book Description

Publication Date: December 15, 2012

Divorced, missing his daughter, with a non-existent love life and on the verge of losing his position on the Boston Red Sox, Mark Mercer thought his life could get no worse. He was wrong. When he and Carlos, the rookie he coaches, stumble upon and thwart a hijacking, they find themselves in the middle of a vicious terror plot. Together with a beautiful FBI agent and Carlos, Mark now is in a race against time to save not just himself but tens of thousands of others targeted by the terrorists.

Product Details

Paperback: 312 pages

Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (December 15, 2012)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 1481202790

ISBN-13: 978-1481202794

Product Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 0.8 inches

Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds

About the Author

RW Bennett has transitioned from a long business career to writing and composing. Bennett has been a Sales and Marketing VP, a financial systems consultant, a restaurateur, a day trader and a CPA but has always loved the written, spoken and sung word. Bennett majored in chemistry and business administration at Wartburg College in Iowa where he was a varsity wrestler and rugby player. He earned an MBA from University of Denver. Bennett’s interests in sports – he was a top-flight marathoner – as well as a better than average cyclist, tennis player, golfer and skier show through in his writing. He also has interests in vocal music, cooking, wine, politics and theology. Bennett lives in Denver with his wife Barbara and their Papillon dogs, Doodle and Dandy.

The product descriptions and author information is from Amazon. Suicide Squeeze