Cover image for Hanging curve
Hanging curve
Soos, Troy, 1957-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Kensington Books, [1999]

Physical Description:
263 pages ; 24 cm
General Note:
Cataloged from uncorrected proof.

"A Mickey Rawlings mystery"--Cover.
Format :


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In the bestselling tradition of Caleb Carr's The Alienist and Barbara Hambly's Fever Season, comes the latest installment in Tray Soos's critically acclaimed Mickey Rawlings mystery series. Expertly blending real events with fascinating fiction, Soos delivers a suspenseful, atmospheric slice of little-known American sports history.Mickey Rawlings, utility infielder for the St. Louis Browns, regrets that he's never had the chance to face some of the game's best players: those restricted to the Negro Leagues. So he's eager to accept an invitation to play against the East St. Louis Cubs, a black semi-pro team, even though he knows he'll be taking the biggest risk of his career. Baseball commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis doesn't want white major leaguers on the same field with black ball players. The only solution is for Mickey to play under an assumed name.But it's April, 1922, and Mickey is about to discover there's more at stake than winning a baseball game. East St. Louis is a city scarred by the events of 1917, when white residents massacred their black neighbors in the worst explosion of racial violence in American history. Five years later, lingering shadows of hate still hover over the community -- and when pitcher Slip Crawford leads his black team to victory, the Ku Klux Klan make their presence known, and Crawford is found dead.Now, everything Mickey has ever fought for and everything he has ever believed will be challenged. From a first hand view of segregation to meetings with stars of the new Negro National League -- including Cool Papa Bell and Oscar Charleston -- to a KKK rally in Indiana, Mickey sees a side of American life he's never experienced before.

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

All St. Louis Browns utility infielder Mickey Rawlings wanted was a few extra at-bats and a chance to get into the 1922 World Series. But when he agrees to appear as a ringer for a semipro team in a game against a local Negro League club, and the KKK causes a riot that leads to the Negro squad's star pitcher being lynched, Mickey finds himself working with a black attorney, Franklin Aubrey, to unmask the hooded killers. Through the course of his investigation, Mickey learns plenty about the racial conflict that divides the Mississippi River city, and he also finds that certain unsavory individuals are capable of using society's ills for their own gain. The sixth Mickey Rawlings mystery is the strongest in the series. He is growing as a character while he ages as a ballplayer, and his romance with former actress Margie is sweet by modern standards yet scandalous for its time. Soos delivers a richly atmospheric journey through time with Rawlings serving as an engaging guide. --Wes Lukowsky

Publisher's Weekly Review

Flappers, jazz and Prohibition are often used to evoke the hedonistic 1920s, but Rawlings discovers different hallmarksÄ black baseball, the Ku Klux Klan, Jim Crow and lynchingsÄfor his fine new mystery, which doubles as a cultural and political history. Peripatetic ballplayer Mickey Rawlings carries bat, glove and sleuthing skills from Cincinnati (where he played in his most recent outing, The Cincinnati Red Stalkings) to join the American League's St. Louis Browns for their 1922 season. Using an assumed name to hide his major league identity because of organized baseball's ban on interracial games, Rawlings plays with the semi-pro Elcars against the Negro East St. Louis Cubs as a lark. An ugly confrontation during the game is prologue to the later lynching of the Cubs' star player. Spurred by fear that the volatile situation could lead to a repeat of the terrible race riots of 1917, which left hundreds (mostly blacks) dead in East St. Louis, Rawlings tries to figure out who is behind the murder. In the process, he learns and reveals much about the grim realities behind baseball's ban on black players and also much about himself. Though filled with glimpses of baseball greats from both races and hinging on a well-constructed case of murder, this novel stands out particularly for its skillfully drawn background and intelligent use of historical and social detail. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved