With all due respect to the author…
I found an item on my Google alerts about The Diamond Deception, a self-published novel by Mike Gallagher. Rather than try to describe it, here’s the “official” notice:
FBI hero Pete Dobbins, goes undercover as a major league baseball player to investigate a string of murders and gets far more than he bargained for in The Diamond Deception.
Author, Mike Gallagher pulls from his life-long love of sports and crime thrillers to create a one-of-a kind novel featuring a murder mystery inside the high profile world of professional baseball. The Diamond Deception keeps both sports lovers and adventure seekers on their toes with the many plot twists and unexpected turns.
As a former minor league baseball player turned FBI agent, Dobbins, attempts a career comeback in order to uncover the secrets of three murders in three different cities. Dobbins must fight for not only his life but also an innocent man wrongly convicted. Readers will take away more than an adrenaline rush from this fast-paced, high stakes novel through Gallagher’s complex and intriguing character line up.
“I love the dichotomy in the book,” says Gallagher. “We have the wholesome, all-American game of baseball twisted up with dealings of a criminal organization,” says Gallagher.
I know you have to suspend disbelief for a lot of these things; it is fiction, after all. But the thought of a former-minor-leaguer-now-an-FBI agent suddenly appearing on a Major League roster to do some snooping is a stretch. Made me think of Roy Hobbs in The Natural, appearing out of the blue after being away from organized ball for more than a decade following his shooting at the hands of Harriet Bird. No one could get a handle on where he had been playing. But that was then, this is now: How could Dobbins get away with such a charade? The ball club’s front office would have to be in on the ruse. Is there a Max Mercy, a member of the local media, digging into Dobbins’ background? How deep would they have to make his cover, what with so much information is available through sites like Baseball-Reference.com or Retrosheet? You couldn’t just make up a new identity like that, I would imagine. Working undercover as a generic longshoreman, drug dealer, or businessman doesn’t have the same interest as it would for info-and stats-crazy sports fans.
The author might say “read the book” for the answers, but after downloading a sample of kindle (even that was done reluctantly, but I figured I out to at least give the writer the benefit of the doubt). Here’s an excerpt, quoted at length and verbatim, mis-punctuation and all:
“I received a report from our Chicago office this morning. There was a shooting three nights ago, in which a twenty year-old female was killed outside her apartment building at about 3:00 in the morning. No neighbors heard the shooting in a densely populated neighborhood, which means the killer used a silencer indicating that he is a pro. The Chicago P.D. asked our guys to look into it. The ballistic test show the weapon was a nine millimeter Glock. Here is where it gets interesting, Pete. The ballistics evidence was input into the bureau’s database, and it turns out there was a murder three years ago in San Francisco and a murder two years ago in St., Louis in which the ballistics evidence matches exactly with this murder in Chicago three nights ago. It was the same gun.”
I’m no hired killer and am not a student of the genre, but if I were, I doubt I’d keep a gun that had been used in previous crimes (unless my mother gave it to me and it had sentimental value). I would hope I’m good at my job, demand a high recompense, and be able to afford new equipment. Bade general fiction is bad, but bad thrillers — where attention to detail is paramount — is worse.
Like I always say, fiction is the most subject genre for me. Writers work long and hard to produce these works, but when I find something like this, my antenna goes up and I feel compelled to bitch about it. And sorry, I know I’m guilty of more than my share of misspellings, but punctuation is important. A misplaced comma can greatly change meaning. (“What’s bothering you, little brother? You look like someone ate you’re last Twinkie.”)
Does the book get better? I don’t know. Maybe someone out there will read it and tell me I’m totally off base (heh) about Diamond Deception.