Allen Schatz was born and raised and went to school through college in the suburbs of Philadelphia. He currently resides in southwest PA. Allen began writing after a 25-year career as an accountant/finance professional--he is still active as a self-employed consultant. In addition, he has been an amateur baseball umpire for close to 30 years, currently working high school and youth games. He is married and has two adult children. GAME 7: DEAD BALL is his debut fiction novel. Two sequels have been penned; the first is now available as an ebook (titled: 7th Inning Death).
I've never before read a book where the story revolved around baseball. With kidnappings, murders, and a good storyline this book has it all. The author Allen Schatz writes that well that i almost felt as though i was sitting in the stands watching the game take place. Game 7:Dead Ball comes highly recommended.
The author uses the 2008 World Series as the backdrop for a thriller that includes a history of friendship between several men, who go their separate ways but who share a particular incident. The lives of these friends converge at the World Series. Marshall Connors, the main character, is an umpire and without giving anything away, the story involves players on both teams, Connors , baseball security, the FBI and a high-tension situation that involves kidnapping, extortion and the need to prevent these nefarious actions from derailing the World Series and possibly jeopardizing its legitimacy.
Schatz does a remarkable job with a complex plot, involving a number of points of view. He's taken some liberties with the real history of the 2008 World Series in that the real World Series was won by the Phillies four games to one. Schatz needs more time for his story to unfold, so it takes the Phillies until the 7th game to defeat the Tampa Bay Rays. Nevertheless, if you're a baseball fan you'll appreciate the realism Schatz injects into this side of the novel. If you're not a baseball fan, that's ok too as you'll enjoy this thriller and Schatz' stiletto-sharp writing style.
5つ星のうち5.0Great read. Believable twists and intense turns...
Allen Schatz' Dead Ball is the best self published mystery thriller I have ever read. I usually read just to kill time waiting for appointments or while dining in a restaurant alone. This book is one of only a handful that I have read that actually held my attention enough to read at other times. It was well written, with strong character development and clear plot progression. The twists and turns were believable and not simply placed there for the author to show how smart he is. the baseball in the book is like a monster in a Koontz dark suspense book, it became another of the characters. Many times the sports background intrudes too much on the story, not so in this case. Well written, well thought out and overall, well done. A Major League Home Run, no wait, it was more than that, it was a walk-off Grand Slam.
Allen Schatz has crafted a winner with his novel, Game 7: Dead Ball, book one of his Marshall Connors series of contemporary thrillers. Marshall Connors is a Major League umpire, and when he is inexplicably tabbed to be crew chief for the World Series, people in the know wonder why. Connor's elevation is a result of actions by shady characters, who have only begun their mayhem. While baseball can be seen as a character, and fans of baseball will find the backdrop of the World Series adds to their enjoyment, one need not be a baseball geek to enjoy this book.
Marshall Connors, while likeable and smart, is not a protagonist in the conventional sense. He has major responsibilities related to his umpiring job and though he is connected to events, he has little ability to control or influence them. Connor's friend Thomas and an assortment of FBI agents and MLB security types do the heavy lifting in solving a kidnapping and dealing with the bad guy(s). While Connors may not be a typical protagonist, the antagonist is an extremely cunning, dangerous and scary bad guy.
The cast is extensive and the plot intricate. When I set the book down a quarter through to concentrate on more pressing projects, I felt I needed to start again at the beginning in order to get current. However, once back into the book, it was a sharp page turner. I liked the fact that the characters and situations all seemed authentic and required no suspension of belief on the reader's part.
Allen Schatz tells the story in an unconventional, but effective manner. He lets Connor's narrate his part of story in 1st person, but deftly shifts to a 3rd person point of view for the bulk of the story. Such techniques are above the skill level of most inexperienced writers, and I was surprised to learn Dead Ball was his first novel. I look forward to the rest of the Marshall Connors series, and likely anything else that comes from the ordered but creative mind of Allen Schatz.
There may be other novels featuring baseball umpires as lead characters, but I haven't read one. It sounds almost like an exercise in a creative writing class: Set the person who is supposed to remain invisible at the center of a story involving love and hate, success and failure, excitement and tragedy. Author Allen Schatz has done that and done it well.
For a good portion of Game 7: Dead Ball, protagonist Marshall Connors knows he's in the middle of a life-or-death situation. He just doesn't know whose or what to do about it.
Chosen to umpire the World Series as a surprise replacement for the crew chief who apparently suffered a heart attack, Connors must call balls and strikes on his boyhood friend Terry O'Hara, the ace of the Philadelphia Phillies pitching staff, and Terry's former USC teammate Nik Sanchez, catcher for the Tampa Bay Rays.
Terry and Nik's relationship was ruined long ago and now is defined only by animus. A third Trojan teammate, AJ Singer, had an affair with Terry's mother, and when her husband discovered it, things got very ugly for all involved.
As the Series bounces between Florida and Pennsylvania, millions of fans watch the games on television unaware of the real drama swirling around Marshall Connors. Notes are surreptitiously delivered to him at home plate; meaningful looks are thrown by league security men, and an old-fashioned baseball "message" is delivered by catcher Sanchez - a fastball allowed to blast Marshall in the facemask.
Between games, though, Marshall manages to work in a little romance and tries to help his friend Thomas Hillsborough, an ex-CIA spook who is sort of a law-enforcement-stud-without-portfolio, figure out what's going on.
You might expect a mystery involving a baseball umpire in the World Series to center on fixing games. Schatz happily has chosen to go in a less obvious direction.
Without giving away the plot, the crimes here include serial murder, kidnapping, extortion, and felony battery. Throw in the inter-generational adultery and some unpaid gambling debts, and you've got lots of reasons for people not to like each other.
Game 7 has a huge cast of characters - FBI agents, Major League Baseball officials, ball players, bad guys, innocent victims, and umpires among them. It is to Schatz's credit as a writer that they're reasonably easy to keep straight.
If you like baseball and thrillers, Game 7: Dead Ball is a must read. Even those who are only so-so on the national pastime but enjoy complicated plots with well-drawn characters will find Game 7 most satisfying.
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I've loved baseball and reading mystery books since I was a child. It is so rare that I get to combine the two.
Marshall Connors is an umpire who worked his way up through the ranks. So when his mentor taps him for the position of Chief Umpire for the World Series he is stunned and honored. When his best friends are involved, his world is rocked - not necessarily in a good way.
The story alternated between omniscient and first person. When you take into consideration that this is a mystery and the other elements are necessary to the overall story it works well together.
I have put the other two books in this series on my wish to read list.
If you love mysteries and baseball this is a winning combination that I highly recommend.
What a great story -- the descriptions of Philadelphia and Tampa made me feel like I was there. I loved that a lot of the book was told from the point of view of an umpire -- and liked Marshall's character. There were a lot of characters, but they all needed to be there so the story could be told. I am a big baseball fan, especially of my Cincinnati Reds (although I do love the name of the Phillies' reliever, Antonio Bsstardo!). But you don't have to love baseball to love this book. It has kind of a Michael Connelley feel to it.
I have the other two books in the series on my Wish List, and look forward to reading them.
This guy really knows his baseball! As a casual baseball fan (the Pirates stink but I love them) I had always wondered what the umpires were like. I learned a lot about umpiring that was presented in an easy going way. The mystery was great - the only reason I gave it 4 stars instead of 5 was that I found some of the more minor characters a little confusing. However I see some of them go into the next book in the series, which I am eagerly looking forward to reading. The mystery was well done and I found myself staying up late (after watching the 7th game of the 2011 series) in order to find out how it turned out. Even if you're not a big mystery fan, the baseball story throughout the book is fascinating and any baseball fan would enjoy it. Hope he continues writing about this character!
5つ星のうち4.0A good page-turner, for baseball fans and non-baseball fans
Allen Schatz, in his first novel, has proven a welcome newcomer to an overcrowded thriller market sadly diluted with average ho-hum fare. As others have already amply given plenty of background information regarding the narrative, I will focus on the pros and cons of this very well-planned and executed book about a morbid psychopath and baseball.
Pros: The protagonist is a very likeable, average guy whom the reader can easily relate to in a personal way. There are very few "down moments", where the action ceases, and the mundane takes over. The thrill of the World Series backdrop heightens the degree of tension for the reader. The book is purposely not fraught with unnecessary baseball statistics and minutiae. The supporting cast within the narrative are interesting and easily add to the overall enjoyment of the book.
Cons: The pacing of the book is very fast, with chapters (and scenes) changing at lightning fast speeds. This much-used technique can often cause the reader to become unattached to events and characters if overused. More details (thoughts, scenery, memories) would have given each character more depth. I couldn't help feeling I wanted to know more about Thomas, Damien, Dukabi, etc.
As this book stands, I would highly recommend this book to any thriller fan who is tired of the same old mediocre drivel that is plaguing our bookshelves currently. Schatz has proven he belongs in the writing game, and I could only surmise that his skill will improve as each future project is undertaken. He's developed a likeable "everyday" antihero that each reader surely finds within his/herself. Well done, Mr. Schatz.
Since I love baseball I was really looking forward to reading this book. I found it difficult to keep up with all the different characters and time frames until I was half way through when things started to slowly fall into place. As I got further there were little hints that filled in some of the blanks and by the time I was near the end of the book I couldn't wait to finish it to get the whole picture. All in all this was not my favorite.
Am not a sports fan, but this book has just enough description of a game to make it interesting but not boring. Story line is really good with multiple characters & background to keep you guessing about the outcome. Some chapters are long, but they have several breaks so it's pretty easy to put down & pick back up.
Even if you don't like baseball this is still a good book. I like the characters and the mystery of this book. Don't give up on it if you read the first three chapters and think "ho hum"....Far from being boring.
A fun summer read that I am now getting around to reviewing. I love baseball and reading murder mysteries, so I fell into the story right away. Good writing all the way, so I wasn’t disappointed, even with the many character viewpoints to follow along the way. A great story.
Mix baseball with murder and blackmail and you get one heck of a great mystery. Sports and intrigue make for a page-turning adventure. Excellent characters of all types are played out in this novel. A must read for those who love baseball and crime stories!!!
I'm not a big fan of baseball. I'm not a big fan of suspense novels. Given these facts, I was a bit surprised by how much I enjoyed this book. I guess it was the natural dialog, quick moving plot and believable characters that got me going. I would say that this book is primarily a "suspense thriller" that happens to take place in the world of major league baseball. It's obvious that the author truly loves the sport, but he wrote the novel in such a way that as long as you've heard of the World Series, you'll enjoy the story.
Simply put, it's a fun, entertaining book that I would recommend for anyone's summer reading list.