Be the One

Be the One

3.6 3
by April Smith
     
 

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From the author of North of Montana ("The writing has the taut, perfect tone of a well-tuned string"--Scott Turow), a spellbinding new thriller about ambition taken to unexpected, and deadly, extremes.

Cassidy Sanderson is a scout for the Los Angeles Dodgers--the only female scout in the major leagues. Hard-living and hard-drinking, a gifted athlete…  See more details below

Overview

From the author of North of Montana ("The writing has the taut, perfect tone of a well-tuned string"--Scott Turow), a spellbinding new thriller about ambition taken to unexpected, and deadly, extremes.

Cassidy Sanderson is a scout for the Los Angeles Dodgers--the only female scout in the major leagues. Hard-living and hard-drinking, a gifted athlete herself, she takes pride in successfully competing in a male world. But recently she has been losing prospects on the sign, and her job security is teetering on the edge. When she gets a tip from a close friend and fellow scout about Alberto Cruz, a young phenom in the Dominican Republic, she impulsively catches a flight to Santo Domingo--even though it is out of her territory and she will undoubtedly incur her boss's wrath. If Alberto Cruz is as good as she's been told, the trip will be worth the risk.

The risk starts quickly. Not only has Cruz "got it all--the heart, the guts, the aptitude," he may also have "a bad spirit on him." And he's not the only man Cassidy meets on the island who might change her life for good or ill. The other is Joe Galinis, a powerful financier and real estate developer, "one of the most provocative men she has ever met." When Cassidy returns to Los Angeles, she finds herself entangled in a blackmail scheme laced with otherworldly vodou and real-life violence: a tightening triangle of suspicion and deception that leads her to the back rooms (and backstabbing) of high-stakes sports and finance--where she is about to discover that there is a thin line between a competitor and a killer.

Once again, April Smith gives us a novel of nonstop suspense--large in scope, emotionally rich, and built around a central character of striking originality and substance. It is an electrifying read.

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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble Guide to New Fiction
From the author of North of Montana comes this "terrific" suspense tale in which a baseball scout tracks a young star prospect to the Dominican Republic and finds herself pulled into a bewildering web of deceit. Most of our readers said, "nothing special." You'll "Be the One-who-falls-asleep if you read this book."
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Cassidy Sanderson, the 35-year-old heroine of Smith's (North of Montana) tough, smart novel, is a baseball scout for the L.A. Dodgers--the only woman scout in the major leagues in 1994. On a hot tip from her godfather, Pedro, a "successful bird-dog scout, " she goes to the Dominican Republic in pursuit of a young center fielder named Alberto Cruz. During this unauthorized trip, she meets Joe Galinis, a downtown-L.A. developer to whom she is immediately drawn. She and Joe, along with Alberto, drive drunk into a hurricane, and a confusing accident in the violent murky weather (related in interspersed flashbacks) yields misfortune that follows them back to Los Angeles. As Cassidy gets Alberto into training in California, the action, somewhat sluggish at the outset, quickens: Alberto and Joe receive anonymous blackmail notes, and Cassidy runs into danger on a trip to view spring training in Vero Beach, Fla. The Dodgers and the L.A. and Vero Beach police departments get involved, which stands to jeopardize the careers of Alberto, Joe and Cassidy--as well as the romance developing between the latter two. To Cassidy, baseball is more than business: formerly a pro softball player, she has always been a pioneer; in addition, she's living out the expectations of her beloved, deceased brother. Befriended in Vero Beach by detective Nate Allen, who later ends up in L.A. on official business, she faces a host of difficult decisions. Smith's characters are hard to empathize with--Cassidy, in particular, keeps her game face so assiduously that the reader only sometimes glimpses her vulnerabilities--and a major leap in determining the blackmailer's motive isn't confirmed until the end, which threatens the story's plausibility. While the writing is generally firm and judicious, Smith's prose sometimes swerves into the overly ornate. But this ambitious novel, much to its credit, does venture beyond these ambivalences to provocatively rephrase the perennial tale of a woman in a man's world. 75,000 first printing. (July) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.|
Library Journal
The high-testosterone world of professional baseball scouting is the backdrop for a story about the only female scout in the majors. Dogged by bad luck in her previous choices, Cassidy Sanderson needs to sign at least one credible major league prospect and jumps at the chance of taking on Dominican pitcher Alberto Cruz. She signs him, but her last night in the Dominican Republic includes too much booze, an accident, and an impending hurricane. When both she and Alberto start getting increasingly violent threats, she learns that their car had hit and killed a woman, providing an excuse for extortion. At the same time, Cassidy tries to salvage her career and Alberto's while coming to terms with personal betrayals by people she trusted. Admirers of Sara Paretsky's V.I. Warshawski would like Cassidy. Smith is also the author of North of Montana. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 3/1/00.]--Marylaine Block, "Librarian Without Walls," Davenport, IA Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.\
School Library Journal
Cassidy Sanderson, the 35-year-old heroine of Smith's (North of Montana) tough, smart novel, is a baseball scout for the L.A. Dodgers--the only woman scout in the major leagues in 1994. On a hot tip from her godfather, Pedro, a "successful bird-dog scout, " she goes to the Dominican Republic in pursuit of a young center fielder named Alberto Cruz. During this unauthorized trip, she meets Joe Galinis, a downtown-L.A. developer to whom she is immediately drawn. She and Joe, along with Alberto, drive drunk into a hurricane, and a confusing accident in the violent murky weather (related in interspersed flashbacks) yields misfortune that follows them back to Los Angeles. As Cassidy gets Alberto into training in California, the action, somewhat sluggish at the outset, quickens: Alberto and Joe receive anonymous blackmail notes, and Cassidy runs into danger on a trip to view spring training in Vero Beach, Fla. The Dodgers and the L.A. and Vero Beach police departments get involved, which stands to jeopardize the careers of Alberto, Joe and Cassidy--as well as the romance developing between the latter two. To Cassidy, baseball is more than business: formerly a pro softball player, she has always been a pioneer; in addition, she's living out the expectations of her beloved, deceased brother. Befriended in Vero Beach by detective Nate Allen, who later ends up in L.A. on official business, she faces a host of difficult decisions. Smith's characters are hard to empathize with--Cassidy, in particular, keeps her game face so assiduously that the reader only sometimes glimpses her vulnerabilities--and a major leap in determining the blackmailer's motive isn't confirmed until the end, which threatens the story's plausibility. While the writing is generally firm and judicious, Smith's prose sometimes swerves into the overly ornate. But this ambitious novel, much to its credit, does venture beyond these ambivalences to provocatively rephrase the perennial tale of a woman in a man's world. 75,000 first printing. (July) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.|
Randy Michael Signor
Those who have been waiting for Smith to follow up her debut novel, North of Montana, will not be disappointed when they get their hands on her latest. Smith's apparently natural talent for creating strong, believable female characters is further demonstrated by her troubled heroine Cassidy Sanderson, a baseball scout for the Los Angeles Dodgers. Not the most common of callings for a thriller's star player, but it works perfectly for Smith in this story about a lone woman in the rigid world of sports. Cassidy is the daughter of a one-time professional player, and she played pro baseball for the Colorado Silver Bullets (a real-life women's baseball team that was sponsored by Coors beer). The title comes from playground ball, when kids chatter at one another: Be the one is what you say to someone who can save the day. In Smith's book, it means several things: The book revolves around the recruitment and signing of a hot prospect from the Dominican Republic, Alberto Cruz, and it has become critical to Cassidy's career that he be a star, that he be the one to provide her career with a much-needed boost; and she also meets and gets involved with a free-wheeling developer who just might be the one to whom she gives her heart. But things do not go smoothly. There is a confusing car accident in the Dominican Republic that leads to extortion, which, natch, leads to murder, which leads to more murder, and everything along the way contrives to threaten all that Cassidy wants or has built. Exceptionally well written, the book moves quickly, and Smith once again has mined more from her material than anyone has a right to expect. Highly recommended, for baseball fans, for crime-fiction fans, for fans of stories about struggles of the heart.
Kirkus Reviews
The author of North of Montana (1994) uses the world of baseball, as seen through the eyes of a female scout whose career depends on finding hidden talent for the Los Angeles Dodgers organization, as the backdrop for this mystery thriller. Cassidy Sanderson is a rarity: a female talent scout in a world predominantly populated by men. An ex-ballplayer herself—with the Colorado Silver Bullets, an all-women's professional team—the blond stunner receives a call one day from "Uncle Pedro," a friend of her late father's, who has spotted a can't-miss prospect in that hotbed of talent, the Dominican Republic. In the competitive world of sports, Cassidy must act quickly, and so she makes an unauthorized trip south, where, in the midst of a devastating hurricane, she signs the 18-year-old Alberto Cruz, then brings him back to L.A. She also brings back a lover, a particularly appealing albeit mysterious developer by the name of Joe Galinis. And, unfortunately, along with the whiz-bang ballplayer and the lover, she's bringing back something else: death threats, aimed first at Cruz, then at Galinis. Who's behind them? Why are they being made? Will they destroy Cruz's shot at becoming a big league star? While Cassidy tries to find the answers to these questions, and herself becomes the target of the blackmailers, she struggles with coming to grips with the death of her brother, as well as with being a single young woman in her 30s who's trying to carve out a place for herself in the macho world of sports. Smith certainly knows baseball, and she's created a full-dimensioned, interesting character in Cassidy. In the end, though, despite herbreezy,almost screenplay-like style, the story falls disappointingly flat. First printing of 75,000

From the Publisher
The Washington Post In an edgy thriller set in the cutthroat world of pro baseball, April Smith masterfully builds to a score-tied, bases-loaded, full-count moment of white-knuckle tension

Robert B. Parker Author of Hugger Mugger Wonderfully told, powerfully exciting, and entirely engrossing.

The New York Times A tingling and pungent entertainment, anchored in good characters and authentic-seeming situations....Be The One, as they say of ballplayers past their rookie season, shows that she is no flash in the pan.

USA Today Baseball Weekly April Smith has followed the rules of well-crafted fictionand made up a few of her own to make Be The One absorbing summertime reading.

The Wall Street Journal The book has many sizzling scenes and a strong finish....No one will leave this ball park of a novel without a satisfied grin.

Sara Paretsky Author of Hard Time Be The One has everything: sex, drugs, and baseball. In Cassie Sanderson...April Smith has created a convincing, compelling woman operating in the most American and most masculine milieu: professional baseball...Nonstop action....

The Denver Post You'd swear she was born with a bat in hand. Artfully avoiding the sophomore jinx, Smith has definitely rounded second with Be The One.

Robert Crais Author of Demolition Angel Peopled with characters as perfectly rendered as a hundred-mile-an-hour fastball, Be The One is a brilliant, original crime novel....April Smith has hit this one out of the park.

Publishers Weekly Firm and judicious....Provocatively rephrase[s] the perennial tale of a woman in a man's world.

Santa Fe New Mexican Will appeal to both the sports fan and the mystery lover.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780307816832
Publisher:
Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date:
04/25/2012
Sold by:
Random House
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
336
Sales rank:
842,410
File size:
2 MB

Read an Excerpt

She was that close to busting the record for the most consecutive bull's-eyes made under the greatest influence of alcohol, when the bar phone rang.

It was three o'clock in the morning in a local dive in Laguna Beach called Papa's. By then she had been throwing darts almost four hours, ever since the challenge by the French kick-boxer. The guy had looked like a cokehead, like he'd been put through a pencil sharpener, stringy tendons and collapsed cheeks. She had seen him staring at her and known what he was thinking: Here's one of those tall, all-American babes with the blonde braid and great body who lives for beach volleyball. Not too friendly, not too cool, but for him--une piece of cake.

He hadn't counted on fire and desire.

Her first toss drilled straight through the center of a red cork circle the size of a quarter.

He took his beat-up aviator jacket and split, and she kept it going until the place emptied out--except for the other two icons of Papa's, Mary Jo Martin, a TV newswriter who came in around midnight to work on a screenplay about a TV newswriter, and Big Tyson behind the bar, in his all-season leather vest and wool beanie.

The sound system was tuned to a jazz station and Cassidy Sanderson was working with the same smooth despair as Miles Davis's Kind of Blue, hitting the sweet spot seventeen times in a row. She had come straight from the stadium; khakis limp, the armpits of the white cotton button-down shirt translucent with sweat, but she had no idea. She had reached that state of detachment it takes Zen masters a lifetime to achieve: The point seeks the innermost circle, it is inevitable.

She walked seven steps back to a worn yellow line on the splintered floor. Another dewy glass of lager was waiting on a stool, illuminated, it seemed, by a spotlight of gold. It was an obscure microbrew from her home state of Oregon that she claimed made her feel "evergreen." She fingered the grooved shaft of the dart; warm brass, like a bullet.

"Cassidy!"

"Don't talk to me."

"Phone call."

"It can't be for me. My life is pathetic."

She had been thinking about stopping by her trainer Marshall Dempsey's place, waking him up, and getting laid. It wouldn't be the first time.

Mary Jo looked up from a laptop. "Who is it?"

Big Tyson shrugged. "Some kind of weird connection."

Reluctantly Cassidy came to the bar. Her bangs were damp and the look in her eyes was smeared.

"Damn it, my streak."

"What can I say?"

Tyson held out the cordless. Cassidy hesitated, seeming to be fixated by a large turquoise rock in his ring. Mary Jo put a comforting arm around her buddy's shoulder, which was like embracing a piece of granite. The pressure on Cassidy at work these days was intense enough to liquefy stone.

But Cassidy said hello and broke into a puzzled smile.

"It's Uncle Pedro," she told them. "Calling from the Dominican."

Mary Jo and Big Tyson exchanged a relieved look. Who the fuck knew who Uncle Pedro was but at least Cassidy wasn't breaking furniture.

Obviously they didn't read the sports page. Pedro Pedrillo was the most successful bird-dog scout in the Dominican Republic, which meant he drove a hacking old Datsun seven days a week across cattle country and fields of sugarcane looking for boys to fill the farm teams in the United States, but hoping to find the phenom--talent so pure it would light up the game like a fireball that doesn't burn. Cassidy Sanderson, a baseball scout as well, the only female scout in the major leagues, put a hundred thousand miles a year on her Explorer, driving the freeways of Southern California looking for the same light in a different forest.

"Where are you?" Pedro was asking.

"At my pub."

"But I dialed your home number."

"We have call-forwarding. New technology. I can send my calls anywhere I want."

"To a bar? That doesn't sound good."

"It's fine."

Cassidy stared at the collection of weirdness behind the walnut bar. A kind of pressed aquarium in a mother-of-pearl frame with dried-up sea horses and guppies. An old straw hat. Shark jaws gripping a rubber human hand.

"I have found a ballplayer," Pedro was saying.

"What kind of ballplayer?"

"A pure hitter."

"Yeah?"

"Cassie . . . I like this kid."

"You like this kid."

"Yes, I do."

"Well, great. I'm very happy for you."

"I want you to see him. Fly down tomorrow."

For a moment she was lost, listening to the static.

"Are you there?"

"Yes, Uncle Pedro. Hold on."

She walked outside into the cold. Somebody's bare feet were sticking out the window of a Suzuki, We will, we will, rock you! blaring from the radio.

Cassidy pivoted in the opposite direction, past a sunglasses gallery and some beachy boutique, Candles 'n Crap, pacing with the phone to get a clear channel.

"You found a hitter. What's his name?"

"Alberto Cruz. You don't trust me?"

Pedro had played ball with her dad in the fifties. He was her godfather.

"How can I begin to answer that?" she said.

"You know how I look at a ballplayer."

"The intangibles."

"I got a list of fifteen things we can see with our eyes and another fifteen we cannot see with our eyes--"

Cassidy smiled, loving it--the list, the lecture, the oral history of baseball--hearing it evolve, full of pomp and fantasy, soothing as a bedtime story.

"I'm talking of the heart, the guts, the aptitude--" Pedro was going on, "and this kid's got it all. Exceptional talent. A center fielder with a quick bat, really drives the ball. Soft hands, good glove."

"The good face?"

"The good face," he echoed solemnly. "It's the dead season, the mills are closed, but they play in the sugar leagues maybe one time a week. Get here tomorrow and you can see Alberto Cruz in a game on Friday. They said on the news there's a big storm coming but you can beat it."

"Hello, Edith."

"What?"

"Talking to my dog."

A small white terrier had padded out of the bar looking for Cassidy, shaking her hide and yawning. Edith, rescued from the pound, still had abandonment issues.

Impatient: "Got a problem?"

"Not a biggie. It's just three thousand miles out of my territory. They'll annihilate me, Pedro, they're just looking for a reason."

"This kid won't last. The other organizations are gonna be all over him."

Cassidy knelt to touch the soft reassuring curls of fur and gazed across South Coast Highway at the Laguna Life Guard Station, a landmark built like a miniature lighthouse. There might be dolphins crossing the bay.

"You said this kid is playing--?"

"Day after tomorrow."

Cassidy looked at her watch. The numbers were meaningless.

"I'd have to call my supervisor. Travis. Raymond. Someone. I can't just get on a plane."

"Okay," he said, "forget it."

"But Alberto Cruz . . ."

"One thing I learned after thirty years: There's always another ballplayer."

In Pedro's silence she heard a resounding affirmation of the ability of this boy and a shot of adrenaline pierced the boozy high. A batter has a quarter of a second to commit to the swing.

"I'll be there."

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Meet the Author

April Smith is the author of North of Montana. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband and children.  

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Be the One 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
mollybea More than 1 year ago
The plot dragged, the character was not easily sympathetic. The book was too long. I really have enjoyed April Smith's other books, but not this one
Guest More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed 'Be The One'. I thought the she-jock Cassidy and her super cool job were entertaining. Not to mention the great twists and turns the plot took. Fun for sports fans as well as non-sports fans.
harstan More than 1 year ago
Former superstar Cassidy Sanderson does not feel like a pioneer or a freak. Instead baseball has always been part of her gene pool so being the only female major league baseball scout seems normal to Cassidy. She knows that for her to keep her job, she needs to remain productive, signing prospects for the Los Angeles Dodgers. Lately, Cassidy seems in a slump so when she receives a tip about the next great Dominican Republic athlete, she immediately flies to the Caribbean.

On the island, Cassidy meets financier Joe Galinis and realizes that Alberto Cruz is even more than she expected. She returns home with a major prospect and a lover. However, instead of accolades and a bonus, Cassidy finds herself in the midst of a voodoo-blackmailing plot that leaves her wondering who can she trust?

Sports mystery fans, especially lovers of baseball will warmly welcome the return of Cassidy Sanderson (see NORTH OF MONTANA). In her mid thirties, Cassidy still retains that competitive toughness that provides the edge to a well-drawn character. The clever intermingling of baseball, scouting, and voodoo turns BE THE ONE into a perfect game that will surely place April Smith¿s novel on everyone¿s top three lists of sports mysteries.

Harriet Klausner