16 November 2012 ~ 0 Comments

Hard Lines by Dave Conifer

The author sent me this book just a couple of days ago asking if I’d read and review it and I honestly had plans to toss it to the side for a while, but for some reason I kept being drawn to reading it. Finally, last night, I gave in and just started reading the darn thing already. I knew from the blurb that it was going to be a tough one.

Let me first say that I know a little less than nothing about football. There’s a fair amount of that in there, but the Conifer does a decent job of not losing you in it. I figured out enough to know what I needed to know from it, however football fans might think that part is awesome, I just read it and nodded a lot because what does “rushing” mean, anyway? And who cares? Take your time people, sheesh. (sorry, bad joke)… anyway…

The central story is one that we all hear now and then on the news… athletic superstar accused of rape, denies it, accuser is strewn through the mud, who knows what goes on in the background and half the time it just disappears into the ether and we forget all about it, right?

So, what is it that goes on in the background? The author comes up with a story that, while you don’t want to believe it’s possibly true, you cannot help but feel a nasty ulcer festering in your stomach that this kind of stuff happens. Probably more often than we could ever want it to. The interesting part is that it all could have been avoided if not for the converging of so many lives of so many people at the wrong place and the wrong time.

It’s not an easy read, in many ways. It’s tough in places. BUT it was a fast read. I managed to read it in less than 24 hours because I simply could not put it down. I cared about these character – all of them – and I needed to know that they were going to be okay.

The bad? The ending. Too trite, too perfect and WAY too far out of left field for me. Having said that, I’m notorious for hating endings like this, but yet if you don’t tell me what happens, I complain about that too. You simply will never make me happy. BUT this one really went a little overboard for me. It does NOT detract from the story or the work at all though, the story is still very much there, very relevant and very much needed to be written.

Recommended for those that enjoy not only timely fiction, but a little bit of a mystery/thriller as well.

Earning a D-1 football scholarship was gratifying. Leading his new team into the top ten was stunning. Being charged with rape and suspended indefinitely was terrifying.

Jake Zarephath hadn’t seen it coming when his world explodes after a wild night with Robin Dunellen. The campus erupts when the story goes public, but local sportswriter Hamilton Newton trusts his instincts and accepts Jake’s denial. Jake is angry and confused, but everything changes after Newton discovers Robin’s horrifying past and nightmarish present. Something is very wrong at Appalachian University.

When crunch time comes it’s all moving so fast that Jake can’t remember who he can trust. But with a championship within reach and somebody’s soul on the line, there’s no time to wait for everyone to choose up sides.

Rating: ★★★★☆

Book count for 2012: 27
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