'The Setup Man': Sex, Violence and Baseball; Veteran Big-Leaguer Moonlights as Private Detective Who Targets Player-Wife Antics; FICTION - BOOKS

By Levins, Harry | St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO), March 23, 2014 | Go to article overview

'The Setup Man': Sex, Violence and Baseball; Veteran Big-Leaguer Moonlights as Private Detective Who Targets Player-Wife Antics; FICTION - BOOKS


Levins, Harry, St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)


"The Setup Man" takes its title from the baseball term for a relief pitcher who usually appears in just the eighth inning setting things up for the ninth-inning reliever known as the closer.

In writer T.T. Monday's first crime thriller, the title character is Johnny Adcock, a southpaw and a 13-year big-league veteran with the National League's San Jose Bay Dogs who moonlights as a private detectivespecializing in tracking down sexual shenanigans by ballplayers or their wives.

One day, a fellow player on the Bay Dogs hires Adcock. Somebody has sent the player an old video a porn movie featuring the player's wife. The player wants Adcock to find out who sent the video. But what starts as just another sex case soon turns into a matter of multiple murders and a big-time prostitution scheme.

"The Setup Man" teems with sex, violence and baseball.

Although the publicity material says almost nothing about the author (a pseudonym for Nick Taylor), he has a good feel for baseball. At one point, first-person narrator Adcock looks across the clubhouse at a rookie named Diaz and muses:

"I wonder if young Diaz realizes that he belongs to one of the largest castes on earth workers in uniform. At the low end, our group includes maids and fast-food cooks, janitors and airline baggage handlers. It moves on to nurses, members of the military, cops, and firefighters. At the very top, even higher than the pilots, are professional athletes. Basketballers earn the most at present an average of $5.75 million per year. Baseball players average three and a third. But no major leaguer earns less than the league minimum of four hundred grand. That includes Diaz (although his salary will be prorated because he was called up midyear). Is it right that a twenty-year-old kid makes more than San Jose's chief of police? You could argue that he deserves it, based on the value our society places on entertainment. Hell, for an autographed bat, the chief might make the argument himself."

Despite an occasionally confusing plot, author Monday has pitched readers a dandy tale. He deserves promotion to the starting rotation of thriller writers.

'The Setup Man'

A novel by T. …

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