Double Play

Double Play

by Robert B. Parker
4.1 19

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Double Play 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 19 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Another great book from parker
MDB More than 1 year ago
This is Spenser if he hadn't had his father and uncles to raise him, and if he had suffered tough breaks early on. Burke is a man of honor and a deep sense of responsibility who's been broken by war and heartbreak. Unable to fit into post-WWII civil society in Boston, he turns to boxing to eek out a living and perhaps work through issues. He's not a great boxer, but his friend sees promise in him and enlists him as an enforcer for his bookie brother. Unable to reconcile violence against women and children with collections, Burke finds himself at odds with his employer. However, his employer respects Burke's position, even if he is mystified by the man himself, and he decides to recommend him for a job as a bodyguard. That sends Burke to NYC and introduces us to NYC crime bosses and a woman with whom Burke finds a connection, as they are both broken souls. Nothing lasts forever, though, and Burke is soon at odds with his new employer when Burke defends his charge's honor at the expense of two thugs and the lady's former boyfriend's ribs. (The boyfriend is the son of a business associate, and causing him harm was pole-vaulting over the line.) As a result, Burke leaves that job and lands a new bodyguard assignment protecting Jackie Robinson. Here is where the story is most compelling, for the two men have a lot in common and can identify with each other. In spite of their obvious racial difference, they have more in common than not - except that Robinson is not the broken man that Burke is. Duty, responsibility and honor are strong in both men, but Robinson is also an educated man (USC) who was able to take advantage of opportunities Burke never had in spite of being the white guy. Robinson also has the love of a good woman and the support of a community who needs Robinson to succeed. It's telling and interesting that in spite of knowing each other for a while, Burke never knew that Robinson had a wife until he drives him home after a game in NYC. "I never knew you were married," he says, not with a little bit of confusion. It never occurred to him that Robinson had any family at all, as Burke has none and doesn't think about it. Likewise, for Robinson it doesn't occur to him because he has never really thought about it either. It just WAS, and that was enough. Robinson and working for Robinson helps to heal Burke. Ironically, his dealings with another mob enforcer also help, as the two men share backgrounds, perspective and sense of duty and honor. You can see the beginnings of a Spenser and Hawk kind of relationship there. As usual, Parker is on his game here. This is not a book about race and race relations, nor is it about the psychology of war vets or what happens to people who suffer hard times. It's about a relationship between two men and how they help each during a pivotal time in one of the men's careers. History is a backdrop. Interspersed among the chapters are recollections of childhood from someone named Bobby who talks about being a Dodgers fan in 1947. It helps give one a sense of place and insight into the times. However, all of that is secondary to the relationship between Burke and Robinson and how Robinson helps heal Burke through their association and friendship. This is fiction; so, we can't say this is exactly what Robinson endured or thought, but that sense of pride, honor, decency, responsibility are all there. The writing is crisp, witty and sparse. Parker doesn't do hyperbole or overly descriptiv
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Guest More than 1 year ago
Mystery writer Robert B. Parker tries his hand at this somewhat unconventional project a mix of fiction, non-fiction and memoirs. Injured WWII Marine Joseph Burke (fiction) returns from a tour of duty in the South Pacific to find that his wife has left him. Burke eventually finds work with organized crime figures which leads to his becoming the bodyguard for Jackie Robinson, who has recently been promoted to baseball's major leagues as a first baseman for the Brooklyn Dodgers, becoming the first African American player to accomplish this feat (non-fiction). There's not much of a plot to the rest of the book basically Burke and Robinson (both thinly-drawn at best) dodge various threats based on either Robinson's skin color or Burke's various slights to organized crime figures during his prior employment. Interspersed throughout the book are sections titled 'Bobby' (memoirs) in which the author reminisces about his youth in Boston as a Dodgers fan (which must have been a lonely existence) while Robinson was making his major-league debut. Clearly this is a labor of love for Parker, and it's not a bad read but unfortunately there's not a lot to recommend it either -- stereotypical characters and a faint plot do not a great book make.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Not a bad book for a bargain pick up but nothing really special here. No real intensity and really no care for the main character. A quick read if that's something your looking for.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I liked learnig about the challenges it was to protect jackie and though grusome at times quite interesting. The part about the ten gage was way to grusome and this book should never be able to get into the hands of kids. Furthermore the parts of him getting spiked and spat at and all that stuff was very educational.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was one of those you just cannot put down. Taking place in the setting of the first season Jackie Robinson came into the Major Leagues, the main character, Burke, provides everything one could want from a novel. He provides toughness, reflects the pain of a battle-worn man, as well as one scorned in love. Parker really shows growth in the characters as Burke interacts with Jackie Robinson while serving as his bodyguard and both men get an insight to the others feelings and needs. If you enjoy stories that have real characters that not only offer excitement and humor, but also develop as humans during the book, then I think you will find this book a real treat.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The transformation of the character Burke is what drives the story. He allows you to see what Jackie Robinson dealt with. The perspective is fresh and well written.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Clean writing, identifiable characters, a great storyline. Sprinkled with the author's own childhood experiences about baseball, a running, parallel narrative that puncuates and adds a sentimental perspective to the story. It doesn't get any better than this. Robert Forster's voice is hypnotic (audio version).
Guest More than 1 year ago
The writing is very simple and short but the story itself is a good read. Don't be fooled into thinking it's something more than it is. It's decent summer reading, nothing more, nothing less. If I could do it all over again, I'd probably wait for it to come out in paperback, since hardcovers can get expensive.
Guest More than 1 year ago
¿Double Play¿ by Robert Parker defies classification. It centers on the 1947 baseball season when Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier¿so there is baseball. The Dodgers feel Robinson requires a bodyguard and pick Joseph Burke. Burke is a physically and emotionally wounded Guadalcanal Marine sharp shooter. He has no feelings and nothing to lose, follows orders and shoots straight¿in other words, the perfect choice to protect Robinson. The plot to kill Robinson originates with a New York mob boss. Burke¿s astute manipulations of the mob and the Harlem gangsters combine to save the day. So there is mystery and gunplay. Mr. Parker alternates the death threat story with recollections of his own childhood as a fan of the Dodgers. Nostalgic period detail paints the scene with atmospheric touches like vintage songs, network radio shows, Red Barber calling the games and 1947 box scores. But it is the relationship between Robinson and Burke that carries the story in this lean, taut, intricate, poignant novel. While it is Burke who thwarts the assassination of Jackie Robinson, it is Robinson who truly saves Burke. In the Parker tradition, Burke is ¿someone who plays the game, protecting those who follow the rules and punishing those who don¿t. We call him a hero.¿
Guest More than 1 year ago
If you love sports, if you love the good old Jackie Robinson, than this book is definatly for you.
Guest More than 1 year ago
First Parker book I have read. Also my last. Almost elementary in every fashion. If you have 20 minutes to kill, then read it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
All 304 pages fly by in one sitting. The author deftly creates historical fiction that satisfies.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The plot was incredible and turned out aas a masterpiece!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Robert Parker's cadre of fans will easily identify the themes of integrity and redemption that run through his mysteries and Joseph Burke will be another character embraced by his readers. Parker does a brilliant job of painting a picture of the game of baseball and the bigoted world Jackie Robinson burst into in 1947. His descriptions of each man as an individual and the relationship between Burke and Robinson draw the reader in. The story line, as in all of Parker's novels, is brilliantly crafted and written to perfection.
Guest More than 1 year ago
In 1947, Branch Rickey, owner of the Brooklyn Dodgers, shocks America when he announces that he is breaking the color barrier by bringing up Jackie Robinson from the Montreal farm team. However, Mr. Rickey knows that many people do not want to see the line broken so to keep Jackie safe, he hires former World War II marine Joseph Burke to act as a bodyguard............................. Robinson and Burke quickly develop mutual respect though they are as different a duo as any pairing on the planet could be. Perhaps more important they learn to trust one another because the stands are filled with many folks who believe no man of color belongs in major league baseball and are willing to do something to cleanse the game including killing Jackie........................... This is no DOUBLE PLAY as Robert b. parker instead hits a grand slam home run with this tremendous look back to an era that seems like ancient history with all the accomplishment minorities have made in professional sports though under six decades ago. Jackie is portrayed as a proud individual who lets his on field performance speak for itself (think of the pressure on him) while holding within any acrimony towards those who label him with profanities. Burke is a wonderful counterpoint who sees how delightful a person Jackie truly is and willingly would die to keep his new friend safe. Mr. Parker hits all the bases with this game winner......................... Harriet Klausner