Drover and the Designated Hitter (A Drover Novel)

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Ex-sportswriter Jimmy Drover is a cross between Breslin and Bogart: the contemporary hard-bitten tough guy in his purest form. Formerly a prizewinning sports reporter for a Los Angeles newspaper, Drover found his luck running out when there surfaced a picture of him in the company of some Chicago wise guys. They weren't doing business; Drover was just catching up with some guys he knew from growing up in the streets. But a U.S. attorney with ulterior motives got him fired from his paper, and Drover's life was ...
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Overview

Ex-sportswriter Jimmy Drover is a cross between Breslin and Bogart: the contemporary hard-bitten tough guy in his purest form. Formerly a prizewinning sports reporter for a Los Angeles newspaper, Drover found his luck running out when there surfaced a picture of him in the company of some Chicago wise guys. They weren't doing business; Drover was just catching up with some guys he knew from growing up in the streets. But a U.S. attorney with ulterior motives got him fired from his paper, and Drover's life was upended. Now he lives in Santa Cruz, trading stories and killing time at a local bar with a crew of good-natured, trustworthy lazybones. To make ends meet, he works off and on for Fox Vernon, a legendary Las Vegas oddsmaker. Vernon needs a scout, a busybody - and so Drover makes a living by using his intuitions and sports world knowledge, talking his way into locker rooms, gambling dens, mobsters' and managers' offices, traveling around the country in pursuit of sports world info that might affect the odds on Sunday's game. Drover is called into an investigation of Homer White, whose heavy-hitting baseball career with the Chicago Cubs has gone into a slump after leg injuries. Homer's suspected of gambling - easy enough for Drover to check up on, given his above- and below-board contacts. But as Drover gets more of the lowdown, the picture becomes more deadly: Some people want to sabotage Homer's career - including his bitter ex-wife. Some want to save it - including his beautiful rehab nurse, Helen Brown. Trying to learn the hidden story, Drover steps into a knotty web of threats and violent passions and finds himself again under suspicion - and under the gun. The third in Bill Granger's best-selling Drover series, Drover and the Designated Hitter comes through again with Granger's vivid panorama of modern sports world detail and Drover's caustic, seen-it-all wit.

From the Edgar Award-winning creator of The November Man comes "a fresh addition to the fictional crime scene" (Cleveland Plain Dealer). Former sportswriter-turned-professional-handicapper Jimmy Drover agrees to get to the bottom of a baseball player's off-field woes--which are about to turn deadly.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Ex-sportswriter Jimmy Drover works for a Vegas sports-betting oddsmaker tracking down sports industry info that will increase his employer's profitable edge. In his third outing, following Drover and the Zebras , Drover has left his Santa Cruz home for Seattle, where he's trying to finish the spring book on pro football for his boss. There a Vegas Mafioso ``invites'' him to dig up some dirt to toss on Chicago Cubs veteran Homer White. Then White's ex-wife asks him to help bring the aging player to the Seattle Mariners as a designated hitter. White is a crusty 39-year-old redneck, softened only by his new girlfriend; his ex-wife is violently crazy and has a boyfriend who also sleeps with the mob; a turned mobster ratting for the Feds believes Drover set him up for a fall. All in the cast work on agendas of their own as the story spins out with Elmore Leonard-esque volatility. Granger, who also pens the November Man stories, may be coyly slow to reveal that Homer's new lover is black, but his snappy storytelling and sweet/gruff blend of humor sweep readers along to assorted satisfying resolutions. (June)
Library Journal
Granger strikes out with his third installment of the Drover series (e.g., Drover and the Zebras, LJ 5/1/92). None of the characters is endearing. Ex-reporter Drover tries to be as witty as Robert Parker's Spenser but generally seems like a smart aleck who cannot back up his tough talk. He spends a good deal of his time getting beaten up or being sent to the hospital. The plot centers around Homer White, an aging baseball player whose connections and associates are shady at best. White is as unlikable as he is prejudiced and ill mannered. The foul language and underworld personalities found here seem more like parodies than realistic touches, and much of the dialog is stilted and bland. Overall, a disappointing performance.-Jeffrey Gay, Bridgewater P.L., Mass.
Wes Lukowsky
Reformed womanizer Homer White, an aging, rehabbing slugger for the Chicago Cubs, has fallen in love with his physical therapist. Homer wants to be traded to an American League team so he can save his bad legs some wear and tear by becoming a designated hitter. But the trade isn't happening, maybe because the Cubs' general manager has a grudge against Homer, maybe because an American League owner lives with Homer's ex-wife, and maybe because someone is circulating betting slips with Homer's name on them. Ex-sportswriter Jimmy Drover, who ekes out a living writing sports books and running errands for a Vegas bookmaker, is drawn into the matter to verify the gambling rumors; if Homer is dirty, Vegas wants to know. Sensing a kinship with the struggling player, Drover presses on to the point where his own life is in danger. This third Drover novel finds Granger--the author of the November Man espionage series--hitting his stride. Drover has become a multidimensional character, and the book's ambience is superb. There is absolutely no one writing today who captures Chicago better than Bill Granger.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780380719099
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 3/28/1995
  • Series: Drover Series
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Pages: 240
  • Product dimensions: 4.18 (w) x 6.86 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Table of Contents

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