Book Review: Hang a Crooked Number by Matthew Callan

Author: Matthew Callan
TitleHang a Crooked Number
Publication Info: Smashwords (2013)

This mystery novel is about a catcher on a minor league baseball time on Coney Island (known in the book as the Brooklyn Hitmen as opposed to the real-life Brooklyn Cyclones) who leads a double life as an agent in a domestic spying organization that’s part CIA, part SABR.  Set in a slightly dystopian near-future, the protagonist known by the codename Backstop finds himself in the middle of a crisis where there is no one he can trusts.  Callan does a good job of building the tension, while revealing details of the organization.  The real life story of Moe Berg, baseball player and spy, and a character called The Guru who is almost certainly a fictionalized version of Bill James grounds this story in reality.  It’s an entertaining attempt at bringing together a sports story with a mystery.

Rating: ***

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