An Amazon reviewer (a very kind one) wrote this about KILL THE QUARTERBACK:
What do Jim Stovall and Damon Runyon have in common? Both were newspaper reporters, and writers, and both can spin a good yarn. Runyon’s long been gone, having died in 1946, but Jim Stovall is still with us and, thank goodness, still writing. Runyon wrote about what he knew — the lively street-life of pre-WWII New York City. He peopled his stories with eccentric characters built upon the real life personalities he met as he roamed the underworld of the Big Apple. Stovall writes about Nashville, where he grew up, and has a cast of characters to rival Runyon, but with a 21st century realism that Runyon would know nothing of. But I’m getting ahead of myself — let me back up.
Kill The Quarterback is Jim Stovall’s first novel and it’s set in the newsroom of the fictitious Nashville Daily Tribune. But Stovall’s no newcomer to the world of journalism. Now a professor of journalism at the University of Tennessee, Stovall knows the less-than-glamorous life of the cub police reporter because he was one. He’s worked in newsrooms from Nashville to Chicago, and wrote the classic journalism textbook, Writing for the Mass Media, soon to be released in its 8th edition. My point is, he knows the newspaper business, and he knows how to write about it in ways that are both informative and fascinating.
But Stovall also tells a good story. This one is about Vanderbilt University football, the newspaper business, the death of a star quarterback, and some good detective work. Throw in a mysterious religious cult that sings Methodist hymns, an out of control police detective, and some oddball Nashville characters, and you’ve got the makings of a first-class mystery thriller. Stovall is as good a murder mystery writer as many I’ve read, and better than most. The plot has more twists and turns than the Blue Ridge Parkway, but each one makes sense, contributes to the action, and moves the story forward. (I actually quit reading a Stuart Woods book which I found mechanical and formulaic, and picked up Kill The Quarterback. As they say, I couldn’t put it down.) The whole book has the ring of authenticity even though you know you’re reading a fictional account. Plus, it’s just good, old-fashioned thriller stuff, like those 1940s b&w movies about the reporter who cracks the case.
But Mitch Sawyer, the lead character and veteran police reporter, is no Jimmy Stewart. Sawyer’s got a gritty side that balances his indulgence of his feline friend, Frisk. In other words, Sawyer’s as complicated as most people are in real life, and the rest of the characters carry their own weight well, too. If you like murder mysteries, get this one. A good read, and well-written by a guy who knows his stuff.
I bought the Kindle version. Here’s hoping there’s a sequel in the works sometime soon.
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