Author: Matthew Callan
Title: Hang 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.