Little league head coach Wayne Savage is at the top of his game. A big personality with a bigger ego, he’s both respected and reviled by a good many players, parents and coaches. But love him or hate him, Coach Wayne is a winner, his players are winners, and anyone who has anything negative to say about it is clearly a loser. But that was yesterday. Today Wayne Savage is dead at home plate. Now the team must scramble to keep it together as one assistant coach makes a play for the widowed wife and the other guns for the head coach cap, all while a murder investigation points fingers at everyone. With foul play, major league scandal and a glimpse into the inner politics of small town sports, little league baseball has never been less appropriate for 12 year olds.
This twisty mystery from Schindler (Murder Across the Street) will catch even veteran whodunit readers off guard. The night after the Golden Rockets Little League team wins the last spring tournament, making them the top-ranked squad on Long Island’s North Shore, a groundskeeper finds the bludgeoned corpse of head coach Wayne Savage on the home plate of a baseball field belonging to the Fort Jefferson Youth Organization. Savage inspired strong positive and negative reactions, giving police detective Jonas no shortage of suspects. They include Savage’s widow, who wastes little time after her husband’s death to start flirting online with an assistant coach for the Golden Rockets. The murder also brings into the open problems at the youth organization, including nepotism and bullying, further muddying the investigative waters. Schindler makes effective use of transcripts of chats of the team members as a choruslike device. Her plausible depiction of the interpersonal dynamics surrounding a competitive youth sports team enhances her clever solution. Readers will hope for a sequel. (BookLife)