With the start of the 2014 Fifa World Cup tomorrow, there is a huge amount of media coverage focusing on soccer.
If you are interested in combining an interest in "the beautiful game" with your leisure reading, here are a few titles to get the ball rolling:
Beneath the Bleeding, by Val McDermid
A tension filled crime story that will keep readers on edge. Stadium bomb blasts and the murder of a star player set the tone for this fast paced mystery. Well developed characters and inventive plotlines keep fans of the Tony Hill series coming back for more. For readers who want to start at the beginning of the series: The Mermaids Singing.
Pitch Black, by Alex Gray
Book five in the Inspector Lorimer series find the Glasgow inspector embroiled in a rash of homicides of star soccer players. Author Alex Gray is oft described as a "Scottish Ian Rankin", which is high praise indeed.
Exposure, by Mal Peet
Although aimed at teens, this award winning novel will appeal to some adult readers as well. A plot based on the themes of Othello, tells the story of a famous soccer player who seemingly is in full control of his perfect life. A beautiful wife, wealth, celebrity... what more could he need? Teens may miss the parallels with Shakespeare but may note the similarities to the lives of Posh and Beckham.
The Deliverance of Evil by Roberto Constantini
In 1986 as Italy celebrates its World Cup win, a young woman with important political connections is murdered. Twenty years later, as Italy is on the brink of another victory, the killings begin again. The original detective who mishandled the first case, is back in the investigation, determined to salvage his career. An intricately plotted and suspenseful story.
The Sun and the Stars by Brigid Pasulka
Young Etto is reeling from the dual loss of his twin Luca and their mother. Finding no comfort with his distant father he turns to Urkrainian disgraced soccer star Yuri Fil to mend his broken life. Etto seeks happiness with Yuri's sister Zhuki in the heartwarming love story.
Only a Game by H.M. Gregson
Jim Capstick, owner of the Brunton Rovers soccer team, has been murdered and DCI Percy Peach is on the case. Capstick is found strangled after making the surprise announcement that he is selling the team. There are many with motives for this murder and Peach must solve the crime while dealing with his pretentious boss and preparing for his wedding.