Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Hockey Players

As the Stanley Cup finals begin (Go Kings!), I thought I'd offer up a few novels featuring hockey players. These titles represent quite a variety of reading experiences, ranging from hot and spicy romances, to murder mysteries, to the more literary and reflective.

The Penalty Killing: a Martin Carter mystery (M)
by Michael McKinley 

"The action is intense in this debut mystery featuring Martin Carter, a former hockey star whose career was cut short by a head injury. Now he's has to solve three apparent, related murders - one of them his own - to get his life and reputation back. Former hockey great Martin Carter now works for the New York St. Patricks, a team with a rare chance at winning a playoff spot. Their fans are hungry for the Cup, but their hopes are smashed when a crucial game ends in a violent, bench-clearing brawl, and a star forward is left in a coma. Only one person saw what happened. She caught the attack on video and intends to use it for some expensive blackmail.... In a story full of unexpected twists, the action is intense, the stakes are high, and the main player very cool under pressure" - publisher

Breakaway (M)
by Deidre Martin

"Rory Brady was Ballycraig's golden boy, the local lad who moved to America and became a professional hockey player. But he broke his promise to Erin O'Brien-and never went back for her. Now Erin has moved on, and Rory must race the clock to prove to her that the man she fell in love with is still there. But can happy-go-lucky Erin risk it all and give another chance to the man who broke her heart" - publisher

Saved (M
by Jack Falla 

"Jean Pierre Savard and Cam Carter, best friends, are the goalie and top defenceman, respectively, for the Boston Bruins of the National Hockey League. They've both been All-Stars, but they've never won the Stanley Cup, and after almost a dozen years in the league, they feel this may be their last, best chance. But an unexpected trade late in the season places the pair on opposite sides in the play-offs, and each experiences  myriad emotions as he struggles to balance on-ice success with personal happiness. Falla covered the NHL for Sports Illustrated for many years, and he clearly understands the league, its players, and its idiosyncrasies. He also loves hockey. The flashbacks of kids playing on natural ice during frozen New England winters are heartfelt and genuine. Most novels with a sports backdrop seem forced; seldom do the authors get the sports part right. To borrow a hockey term, Falla records a hat trick: he scores on character, plot, and setting. This reads as realistically as if it were a memoir." -Booklist

An Inverted Sort of Prayer: a novel (M)
by Chris F. Needham

"Cut loose at the end of a long and violent hockey career prolonged by steroids and numbed by liquor, ex-enforcer Billy Purdy discovers that the soon-to-be-published novel of a celebrated politician's son is in fact Billy's father's own, taken word for word from the original published, and promptly forgotten, some forty years before. Allowing the ruse to continue, and in an effort to distance himself from his violent past, Purdy embarks upon an exotic, oftentimes absurd adventure in an attempt to reinvent himself in what he envisions to be a more cerebral and civilized image, in a world he has never fully been a part of, or developed the necessary tools to properly inhabit. Yearning for connection of any kind, yet seemingly unable to sustain it for any length of time, Billy Purdy comes to symbolize the alienation, frustration, and ultimate futility behind this quintessential Canadian dream" - publisher.

True Love and Other Disasters (M)
by Rachel Gibson

"Bestseller Gibson's thoughtful stand-alone romance immerses the reader in the world of professional hockey and the hearts of two compelling characters. Ty Savage, newly signed player with the Seattle Chinooks, is devastated by the death of the team's elderly owner, Virgil Duffy. Duffy's young widow, Faith, an ex-stripper trophy wife who knows nothing about hockey, will now be the team's owner, much to everyone's dismay. Though Ty and Faith's initial mutual dislike quickly evolves into an all-consuming passion, they soon discover that their attraction goes much further than sexual heat. Magnificently breaking with stereotype, Ty is a tenderhearted man who wants a lifelong relationship, while Faith is emotionally strong, intelligent and caring. With humor and eloquent prose, Gibson brings substance and depth to this loving, modern romance." - Publisher's Weekly 

The Goon (M)
by Jerrod Edson

"With The Goon, Jerrod Edson moves from being one of the province's top young writers to being one of the best New Brunswick writers, period. In Jack Jones, a former NHL enforcer, Edson embodies his hometown-tough, rough, haunted, full of equal parts unfulfilled ambition and heart. The Goon can be safely considered the best New Brunswick novel of 2010."- Saint John Telegraph-Journal

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