Sunday, April 18, 2021

BOOK REVIEW: 'A Fastball For Freedom'

Review by Ernie Paicopolos:

Rarely does a sequel match or surpass the original. You can pretty much count the times on one hand: Godfather 2 (following the Godfather); Margaret Atwood's 'The Year Of The Flood' (following 'Oryx And Crake'); Jeopardy's Alex Trebek (following Art Fleming). By the way, I'm deliberately leaving out Buccaneer Tom Brady (following the Patriot version) because of where I live.

Anyway, author Gary Morgenstein has managed to pull off this rare feat. His new novel, "A Fastball For Freedom" is Book Two in the "Dark Depths" series of novels that began with the amazing, "A Mound Over Hell". Protector-of-all-things-baseball (and pretty good pitcher) Puppy Nedick is back—but the year 2098 is not a fun place for lovers of baseball (or freedom, for that matter). Puppy (and his ex-wife) are on the run from 'The Family'—the religious dictatorship that now runs America. He's been branded a traitor for trying to keep baseball alive.

What makes Morgenstein's books so compelling is the character portrayals—they're complex, but they're also identifiable as they weave their way through the treacherous, dystopian times in which they live. And I'm not just saying this because there's a new character in the mix named 'Ernie The Wizard' (well, maybe a little bit). And, as with the first novel, Morgenstein is not afraid to take on political correctness—and strike it out with a backdoor slider on the inside corner. How refreshing is that in our timid times? 

The bottom line is that if you love speculative fiction and you love baseball, this is a must-read. Can Puppy fight a new oppressive regime, save the planet from global conflict—and save baseball? You'll just have to read it. You can order the novel HERE.