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Connecticut River Valley, New England, United States

Monday, May 26, 2014

Willie Black is The New Damon Runyon--Or At Least An Old-Fashioned Newspaper Guy

Parker FieldParker Field by Howard Owen
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A former minor league baseball player in his seventies is shot with a high powered rifle and is lying in a hospital bed clinging to life. No one can figure out who would want to shoot Les, an unassuming, kind man who does not seem to have any enemies. When it is discovered that an addled former military man, now homeless, appears to have broken into a vacant condo and shot him, Les' sort of adopted son decides to investigate.
Willie Black is a newspaper man, heavy drinker and three time loser in the marital game. Listening to Les' buddy, Jimmy, talk about the old days and the team members and a team groupie, not so affectionately called Fannie Fling, Willie decides to do a piece on the old starting line up of Les' old team, the Richmond Vees. He soon discovers that a number of the old guys are dead, their deaths, in some instances, rather premature and, in others, somewhat suspicious.
Connecting with the younger sister of one of his boyhood friends, Cindy Peroni, Willie heads out to interview the kids, widows and ex-wives of some of the deceased as well as the one other remaining Vee. What he discovers brings him to death's door and the solution to a puzzle he didn't know existed.
Fast moving, surprising, interesting, amusing and sad this slim volume is the perfect rainy Sat afternoon read. Going to look for more Willie Black stories--he's a good old fashioned story teller, that guy. Think he has printers' ink for blood.

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