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Posted August 24, 2012
Is this book about the Navy Seals or the animal seals?? No, it is about
the baseball team the Seals, a minor league team in San Francisco in
1957.I had no idea that there was a baseball team, the Seals, nor do I
know much about baseball. However, that did not stop me from reading and
reviewing this book. This book is not only about baseball, although it
has a great part in the story, it is about romance and murder. The Seals
are soon to be disbanded as a major league team is coming to town, the
Giants and Sam Slater will soon be playing his last game with the team.
He will soon start working as a private investigator for a Jimmy, a good
friend of his. Before this can happen though, Jimmy is murdered and no
one knows why. Sam meets Amelia Ryan, a stewardess, who he finds himself
getting more and more attracted to. As they become closer they find
themselves embroiled in trying to find out who killed Jimmy and why.
Their determination to solve this murder and bring some closure to
Jimmy's family, puts their own lives in danger and they have to get out
of some serious situations. This novel is a murder mystery and love
story all in one. This is 1957 and therefore the relationship between
Sam and Amelia is very proper, but the sexual innuendos are certainly
there. I really liked this book and I learned a bit about baseball that
I didn't know before and found myself liking both Sam and Amelia and
hope to read more adventures with this couple. The author is certainly
knowledgeable about the topic he writes about, baseball. I highly
recommend this book.
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Posted March 27, 2013
Wise Bear Books Reviews Last of the Seals by Greg Messel -- 5 Paws!
Last of the Seals is a blast from the past. Set in 1957 San Francisco, the book's protagonist, Sam Slater, is at a crossroads in his life. He has been a popular long-time pitcher for the Seals, a minor league team affiliated with the Boston Red Sox; but the much beloved local team is being forced to relocate in order to make room for the incoming major league Giants.
Sam once had aspirations of playing for the Red Sox and even had a brief encounter with his dream team in 1941 spring training before being sent back to the minor leagues for more experience, but then World War II derailed his baseball ambitions for good, having to settle for a noteworthy career as a minor league player. In his mid 30's, Sam decides it's time to hang up his cleats and join his good friend Jimmy's private investigation firm.
San Francisco also plays a prominent role in the creation of this novel—a perfect backdrop for every aspect of this multi-faceted story. The author's love for this city shines through—at times acting as a travel guide for readers. If you've never been to San Francisco, you'll want to go after reading this novel; and if you have had the pleasure of living or visiting the city by the bay, you'll know that the author’s descriptive abilities are right on the money.
Like most native San Franciscans, Sam loves his hometown and can't imagine leaving it to follow the Seals to Arizona. Sam has made his peace with his baseball retirement and is ready to join Jimmy in a matter of weeks after the Seals play their last game in San Francisco, but Jimmy is mysteriously killed and Sam ironically has his first case to solve. Around the same time, Sam rescues a beautiful TWA stewardess from the groping paws of a couple of unsavory drunk men—reminding us that the 50s weren't quite the happy days history used to depict.
Amelia Ryan is 25, blonde, beautiful and a class act with a large Irish Catholic family who adore Sam from the moment they meet him. She is the ultimate 50s dream woman and a perfect complement to Sam's tall, dark and handsome more mature man-of-the-world—a war hero, no less, from his World War II military service in Europe.
As a couple, Sam and Amelia are somewhat stereotypes of this iconic decade and yet they fulfill their roles perfectly. Part of the charm of Last of the Seals is the author's craftsmanship telling a classic mystery sleuth story in the tradition of Sam Spade, Philip Marlowe and Mike Hammer, perhaps with a bit less cynicism and violence.
The author finds his voice in these characters and his writing style is also indicative of the time period’s more succinct style of speaking. Messel does a superb job of transporting readers back in time as if we were on a Star Trek Holodeck watching the drama unfold right before our eyes.
In terms of Sam and Amelia's romance, the author reminds us that anticipation of sex can be as sexy if not sexier than gratuitous sex scenes themselves. Amelia's job as a stewardess keeps her away most of the week so their weekend reunions are filled with palpable sexual tension, and yet Messel stays true to the illusion of perfection that Sam and Amelia personify as characters.
Sam and Amelia become quite the investigative team; with the added assistance of Sam's other war buddy, Vince (a San Francisco detective), the couple take on not one, but two cases in their first adventure—three counting the case connected to Jimmy's murder. Last of the Seals is a plot-driven novel with a lot of stories working simultaneously: Sam's bittersweet departure from baseball; his new romance with Amelia; the death of one of his best friends; and the learning curve associated with running a PI business without the benefit of any training.
Yes, the author has deliberately put a lot on Sam Slater's plate in this first series installment. The question isn't whether Sam and his associates can handle it all, but how well the author executes his mission in telling this tale. You won't have to read too far to know that the author is a skilled writer, but don't make the mistake of judging this book against modern mysteries because Last of the Seals is closer to a historical fiction period piece than the gore-filled, can't-catch-your-breath plot tricks which typify today's mystery dramas. We highly recommend Last of the Seals for lovers of great classic mysteries.
This book was reviewed as part of the Wise Bear Digital Book Awards competition. Entry fees associated with the contest are administrative in nature and do not influence our honest, unbiased book reviews.
Posted January 10, 2013
Greg Messel in his new book, “Last of the Seals” Book One in the Sam Slater Mysteries series published by the author takes us into the lives of Sam Slater and Amelia Ryan as they try to solve Sam’s friend’s murder.
From the back cover: Mystery, romance and baseball in 1957 San Francisco. Sam Slater is a lifetime minor league baseball player for the San Francisco Seals. The Seals have just one more season left as San Francisco is about to become a major league city. Sam has come to the end of his baseball career and is going to join the private detective agency of his best friend. When Sam’s partner inadvertently sees something he shouldn’t have, he is brutally murdered. Sam must go it alone and try to find out why. Along the way he is swept off of his feet by a beautiful, Elvis-obsessed TWA stewardess named Amelia Ryan. Sam and Amelia try to unravel the mystery together. On dark and foggy San Francisco nights, trouble is lurking just around the next corner.
I would have to say that the 1950′s and 1960′s were the Silver Age for Private Investigators in print, the movies and Television. Back then we had some classics that, sadly, are out of print now. The good news is we have Greg Messel. Mr. Messel has written a new Private “I” that rivals the best of the masters from back then. Sam Slater is terrific. He is almost an ex ball player, for the “Seals”, going to be an investigator for the first time. Suddenly his friend, partner and mentor is murdered and Sam’s first case is to find out who murdered his friend and why. “Last Of The Seals” is a wild ride. Mr. Messel has given us a very exciting thriller set against the backdrop of 1957 San Francisco. This is an evenly paced page turning adventure as we try to figure out who did it before Sam does. Not a chance. On top of everything this is also a romance as Sam meets Amelia and the two of them work together nicely. Thank you Greg Messel for giving us a mystery done old school. I am glad I found this talented author and am really looking forward to the next book in this series.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Pump Up Your Book. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
Posted September 11, 2012
Baseball? Check. Murder? Check. Mystery? Check. Romance? Check.
That is right this book has all the above and more. From page one you go back in time and follow the life of Sam. His greatness at baseball is closing as the world turns and people move and life happens. Sam turns in his glove for a maganifying glass so to speak as he goes from the Seals pitcher to the solo person in a duo private investigation firm.
Amelia later joins to make the dynamic duo leap into clues and mystery to find out who and why two people are dead.
Greg is a masterful author weaving multiple substories into one great masterpiece. You have history and baseball facts from the Seals. Which I enjoyed because I like baseball and I like history. Win win for me!!! The characters are so realistic and the love at first sight doesn't have them in bed the next day. Which is great because I love when an author lets a couple bloom.
This is an easy read that would make anyone proud to have on their shelf. This is the first of a mystery series for Greg but it won't be the last I read as I found the book captivating and entertaining. And I can't wait to pick up the next of Greg's books.