Screwball: A Novel

Screwball: A Novel

by David Ferrell

Paperback(First Dark Alley Edition)

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780060726003
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 08/10/2004
Edition description: First Dark Alley Edition
Pages: 320
Product dimensions: 5.31(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.72(d)

About the Author

David Ferrell has been a part of two Pulitzer Prize-winning news teams at the Los Angeles Times. His work has also appeared in The Best American Sports Writing, 1998. He lives in Long Beach, California.

Read an Excerpt

Screwball

Chapter One

Boston: Four Years Later

Two pink neon nipples pulsated above the tall figure of a cat -- the brazen sign of the Topless Kitty strip club two miles south of Fenway Park. Augie Sharkey parked his big maroon Oldsmobile in the gravel lot out front and lumbered inside, squinting through a haze of cigarette smoke tinted red by moonlike ceiling globes. Up on twin stages above him were two young dancers, writhing to the beat of Pearl Jam; the taller one, a supple honey blonde, had just completed a pirouette and slipped off her brassiere, twirling it overhead with a rouged expression of pouty arrogance.

Sharkey watched her for a moment and searched the room. His face was made more rugged by the lurid light. After nine years of managing the Sox, "Big Fish" remained an imposing presence, tall and rawboned, although age and frustration were beginning to give him a tattered look at fifty-seven. His hair, still mostly black and ragged over the ears, was thinning on top; his jowls had broadened; his skin had grown leathery like an old mitt. He retained the air of a warrior, a leader who could endure the brutal vicissitudes of baseball, but there was often an aspect of pain in the hard lines of his mouth -- a scowling, carplike mouth -- and in his eyes, jet-black eyes wedged deep in their sockets.

A scowl creased his face even now, for Sharkey had come to associate strip clubs not with thrills and gorgeous women, but with the drunken improprieties and oh-so-many disciplinary problems of his athletes. That was perhaps one more sign, he thought, of his own inner warping.

Still, he was eager to be here, eager to talk to Domato at greater length, alone. They had just left Wulfmeyer's office, Sharkey's first meeting with the wunderkind. He wasn't sure what to believe. He could scarcely grasp the magnitude of what was unfolding.

"Right here, Fish." Domato hailed him from a corner booth affording the best view of the sinuous dancers. His meaty hand was already wrapped around a shot of Johnnie Walker. Domato's grin was like a kid's at Christmas. "Well, what'd you think? Exudes confidence, don't he?"

"Got plenty of that." Sharkey sat down; he hunched forward as if fearful of being overheard. "You serious about those speeds? Clock him yourself?"

"Swear to God, Fish, he's the fastest pitcher who's ever lived. Hits a hundred and eight miles an hour consistently, and I got him as high as one-eleven. Just twenty-one years old."

Sharkey had heard the stories, the rumors that had swirled within the organization like dust in a whirlwind. That the club had drafted the pitching talent of the ages and secreted him away in the Dominican Republic. It sounded too fantastic to be true, particularly when Kane failed to materialize at spring training. It was like urban legend, talk Sharkey pushed out of his mind, not realizing the hand-wringing that was going on in the front office. Only the depth of the preseason pitching roster had kept Kane from debuting earlier. That had since changed with the trade of Shaun Lee to Minnesota and the rotator-cuff injury to Brian Cooley. Suddenly Kane was here, and Sharkey couldn't hear enough about him.

"It was four years ago? When we drafted him?"

"A total unknown," Domato said. "Wolf, he assigns him to Sarasota, lets him pitch a game at Pawtucket, and, Christ, I'm ready to see this kid in the bigs, but Wolf wants to give him some seasoning, wants to keep the pressure off him, and sends him down to the Dominican. We actually created a league for him down there, just kept him there and worked him. Jesus, you never see the likes of what he can do."

"Haaah -- " Sharkey made a sound that was half laugh, half disbelief. A waitress arrived, wearing nothing but lingerie, and he ordered a Stoli.

Domato was yakking again, saying the years of grooming had more than prepared Kane to pitch in the majors. The kid was going to be the biggest fucking sensation of all time.

"I'll tell you, what a relief he's finally in town." Domato shook his head and grinned." You heard we were expecting him a month ago. I go to Logan, wait there nine fucking hours, and he never shows up. I really thought Wolf would have an embolism. Kid just vanishes. This whole last month -- well, you saw how stressed he looked. Wulfmeyer, I'm talking about. So goddamn paranoid he imagined the Yankees had kidnapped him right off the fuckin' airplane ..."

They laughed. Sharkey had noticed Wulfmeyer's edginess, his hands moving constantly, his laugh too quick and giddy.

"So finally he calls last night," Domato went on. "Kane calls, says, 'I 'm here at the airport.' Just like that. Turns out he'd gotten sick. Some viral thing. Never phoned. Couldn't even reach him. He was staying with some woman."

"Looks healthy now," Sharkey said ...

Continues...

Excerpted from Screwball by Ferrell, David Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

What People are Saying About This

David Shaw

“A comic tour de force. . . . This is a novel at once grotesque and hilarious.”

Jim Bouton

“I once said that if Charles Manson could hit .300, he’d be playing third base in the big leagues. . . . It’s a fantastic concept, executed with the perfect timing of a squeeze play.”

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Screwball 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
Dorritt on LibraryThing 6 months ago
If you like Carl Hiaison, you'll love this completely dark, twisted, and hilarious tale of Red Sox baseball, a rookie phenom, and serial murder. But why bother to convince when the book sells itself? It's exchanges like the following [paraphrased] that kept me laughing out loud through all 300pgs: "What about Castilla? Could he be the murderer?" "I don't know - what's he batting?" "Oh and fourteen" "Yeah- it definitely could be Castilla!"
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It is a great book with a ton of baseball action. I recommend this book for 10+ a lot if bad language
Chet_Walker More than 1 year ago
It was a pretty good read. Not bad, I like sports so i thought it looked interesting. and it was a pretty good book. I suggest it to people who like Baseball to read it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed reading Screwball because I like baseball, and it keeps you on the edge of your seat with a killer stalking around wherever the Red Sox go. When Ron Kane the new young amazing prospect for the Red Sox joins the club he not only makes them win more games, but he causes turmoil within the club. It's also ironic that this book is about the Boston Red Sox winning the world series for the first time since theCusre of the Bambino took place, and the when it was published two months later Boston won the World Series without a Ron Kane though. I gave this book five stars.
Guest More than 1 year ago
if you like sports and thriller this is the book for you it keeps you guessing.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The book was great! I am a huge baseball fan, so it kept me interested on that aspect. But it also kept me interested with the mystery of the killer. It keeps you on the edge of your seat. It is a little wierd at times but overall I give it a strong 4 out of 5.