Samhain Publishing, $4.50, ISBN 1-60504-235-8
Contemporary Romance, 2008
Will a hot rod baseball player say things like the following?
“Don’t fret, blossom. I’ve got more shoes than Imelda. I’m afraid you’ve only been blessed with one pair of those razor-sharp teeth.”
“Bored by the company? Most chicks would sacrifice their offspring for a chance to mingle with this crowd.”
“You really are an odd duck.”
“Whoa, didn’t mean to ruffle your feathers, Daffy. Should I put in a good word for you with Mark? Maybe tell him that the bitchiness is just an adverse reaction to too much medication.”
These are just from the first two pages when Nick Valente first makes an appearance in this story. I personally have a hard time believing that those words, especially those references to Imelda Marcos and Daffy Duck, would slip so easily from a purportedly rugged, athletic, and heterosexual hot-blooded jock. Read anything by Rachel Gibson or Susan Andersen, and then read this one and tell me if Nick Valente doesn’t sound like a woman pretending to be a male jock.
This is a sports romance with plenty of references to baseball. Abby McCabe writes a weekly column for the sports section of the local papers, although she keeps her identity as the writer of those columns a secret. She doesn’t want to be infatuated with the new player, Nick, because she has a case full of issues about loving and losing. This one is all about the issues, without any external conflict like dead bodies getting in the way.
My biggest problem with The Catcher and the Lie is the author’s not very authentic “male” voice for her jock characters. It’s a significant one because it affects my enjoyment of this story every time a guy opens his mouth. The story itself is a rather predictable story featuring familiar characters doing the same song and dance, but it could have still been a pleasant read. It’s just that those hot-blooded jocks never come across as genuine sorts and as a result, the story feels really artificial.