Smith (Girls of Tender Age) and son work real-life members of the 2007 Boston Red Sox, most notably David "Big Papi" Ortiz, into a mystery plot with the adeptness of a successful double steal. The troubles for the team begin with the discovery of an abandoned baby in the Red Sox clubhouse. When a woman's body turns up in a remote area of the fens near Fenway Park, Boston homicide detective Rocky Patel gets on the case, partnered by Sgt. Marty Flanagan. Meanwhile, an unscrupulous agent has been trafficking in Cuban baseball stars. The authors know how to heighten the intrigue, but readers should be prepared for some tiresomely detailed descriptions of street routes and an omniscient narration that compulsively shares incidental thoughts of insignificant characters. Such filler has all the charm of a rain delay in the middle of a tense Sox-Yankees game. 10-city author tour. (Oct. 29)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Together [the authors] pitch an intriguing tale that hinges on the smuggling of talented young players from Cuba to the U.S. Characters includes the revenge-minded family of the dead woman, a slimy trafficker in kidnapped players, two even lower-lifes who have a beef with him - and most enjoyable, cameos by members of the Sox. Add to that Jay, a blogger whose contacts give new meaning to the old phrase "inside baseball." Each chapter ends with a posting from his fictional blog, The Number One Place, and comments from its readers. Sox fans know the name's a shout-out to the lyrics of the Standells "Dirty Water," the song about Boston that is Red Sox Nation's victory anthem. Jay's contributions are written by Jere Smith. At first, the blog sections seem tacked on, but they become an integral part of the story, as Jay throws in with Rocky and Marty to solve not one but two murders .The mystery develops nicely, but the most fun is the Red Sox and Boston lore, interaction between the players and punchy dialogue.
Rutland (VT) Herald
To truly enjoy this extremely clever novel and its extra-innings ending, it helps if you are a fan of the Boston Red Sox, intimately familiar with Boston's Fenway neighborhood and conversant with the online practice of blogging. But should you strike out on these topics, never mind. The book is still a good read and, let's face it, in Vermont and the rest of New England (otherwise known as Red Sox Nation) most readers will have at least some knowledge of the team and therefore an appreciation of its recent (and long-awaited) success on the diamond. And, as a bonus, David "Big Papi" Ortiz, the team's superstar slugger and larger-than-life personality, adds a bit of zest to a plot that's already as tricky and slick as an unassisted triple play.
Rocky Mountain News
Even if you root for the Rox, not the Sox, you've gotta admire this baseball-filled mystery for its deep and knowledgeable love of the game. Mary-Ann Tirone Smith, a third-generation Red Sox fan, joins forces with her son Jere, a Sox blogger, to tell the story of an apparently motiveless murder affecting a warm Boston family. At the same time, the authors bring the Red Sox clubhouse and its denizens to life when an abandoned baby turns up there. Adding to the mystery is an anonymous blogger who always knows a little more about the team than he should. The compelling conclusion entertains while making a point about how the game is run today. Final word: The story ends well before Boston came to Denver and gave us a drubbing, so you won't have to relive last October. Grade: A.
The blogger in the novel comments on the ongoing mystery that began in the Red Sox clubhouse and offers as-yet unrevealed details, which at times gives the blog entries an ominous feel as the reader can't help but wonder how he knows so much about the case. Additionally, the reader comments serve brilliantly as a kind of Greek chorus lamenting and celebrating the downs and ups of the mystery (and the Red Sox' season). At the core of the lived-in, baseball-saturated world of the novel is the police detective working to solve the case, which comes to involve not only the abandonment of a baby but kidnapping, murder, and international human trafficking. This detective, Rocky Patel, is an excellent character, unusual and compelling, and unshakably dogged in his pursuit of the truth below all the fascinating and grisly murk of the mystery. Because of his magnetic presence, I would have been drawn forward by the book even if it hadn't so richly and authoritatively portrayed a world in which the Red Sox are as intrinsic to life as water or air. Lucky for me, and for all fans of baseball and of fiction with deep roots in the world it describes, Dirty Water gleams in the glow of the brilliant light stanchions of Fenway.
One of our favorite blogs is Jere Smith's A Red Sox Fan in Pinstripe Territory, where Yankee-hating is flung to bold new heights almost every day (and his recent All-Star game rants were things of beauty). Jere and his mom, author Mary-Ann Tirone Smith, have collaborated on a new mystery novel, Dirty Water, that skillfully combines everything we love about the Red Sox--the players, the Park, the fans -- into a gritty, suspenseful tale that begins with an abandoned baby found in the Olde Towne Team's clubhouse. In a cool technique, much of the plot advances through the posts of a mysterious blogger, and Jere is nice enough to name-drop a number of Sox bloggers among the comments. Best of all are the guest appearances by the players we know and love: David Ortiz (basically a supporting character in the book, who will no doubt be played by Yaphet Kotto in the film version), Daisuke, Teets, Theo. Hell, even Amalie Benjmain shows up, looking positively fabulous if only in my mind's eye. Folks, if you're gonna read a book, shouldn't it be a mystery novel with Papi and Amalie? My point exactly. Reading Dirty Water is like sitting in your favorite Fenway-area pub, watching the game while seated between Dennis Lehane and Peter Gammons. And that's my kinda place.
The Hartford Courant - Jeff Goldberg
"DIRTY WATER is like a David Ortiz at-bat with the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth. Loaded with drama and suspense, the kind that every Red Sox fan will enjoy."
The Rutland (VT) Herald - A.C. Hutchinson
"To truly enjoy this extremely clever novel and its extra-innings ending, it helps if you are a fan of the Sox, intimately familiar with Boston's Fenway neighborhood and conversant with the online practice of blogging. But should you strike out on these topics, never mind. The book is a good read, and, as a bonus, David 'Big Papi' Ortiz, the team's superstar slugger and larger-than-life personality, adds a bit of zest to a plot that's already as tricky and slick as an unassisted triple play.
The Vermont Sunday Magazine - Books Editor
"David 'Big Papi' Ortiz, superslugger and larger-than-life personality, adds zest to a plot that's already as tricky and slick as an unassisted triple play."
The Joy of Sox - Allan Wood
"Smith's latest mystery, written with her son, Jere Smith, features murder, blackmail and baseball: the seamy underside of recruiting foreign ballplayers; an unerring eye for detail."
The Rocky Mountain News - Jane Dickinson
"Even if you root for the Rox, not the Sox, you've gotta admire this baseball-filled mystery for its deep and knowledgeable love of the game. An apparently motiveless murder affects a warm Boston family, and at the same time, the Red Sox clubhouse come to life when an abandoned baby turns up. The compelling conclusion entertains while making a point about how the game is run today. The story ends well before Boston came to Denver and gave us a drubbing [to win the World Series."