Tuesday, March 17, 2009

The King's Game

by John Nemo

Published by JNB Books (2007)
240 pages

“A story of fathers, sons and baseball,
along with the eternal choice each man must one day face…”

It’s Game Seven of the World Series. The Warriors are resting their hopes on their star pitcher, the eccentric, thirty-six year old Cody King. The hometown crowd is chanting his name as he takes the mound, squeezing the ball tight in his hand, staring in to find the catcher’s eyes behind the catcher’s mask. Even so, his mind is drawn elsewhere.

This story, told in a narrative fashion, transports you into the game, narrating each inning, often pitch by pitch, but does it in a way that captures the mind of the reader. You become a spectator, hearing the thump of the ball in the catcher’s mitt, the crack of the bat, the catcalls and cheers of the crowd and the droning of the organ. You feel the cool rain on your face, see the tobacco-spit covered dugout floor, and smell the tantalizing scent of hot dogs.

Within each inning and even in between pitches, the reader is also given insight into the tormented mind of Cody King. Cody relives those moments in his life, the painful losses and the stolen moments of joy, that created who he is today: his lowly and tragic birth, the adoptive father who taught him the game, the foster homes he disdained, his wife who tried to teach him of God’s love, and the opportunities to learn about the Father who really loves him. You find yourself feeling for Cody, then jeering at him, and then cheering for him, wanting so badly for him to win this one last time.

Will Cody King finish the game, winning the prize God place before him, or will he fall short?

The King’s Game is the first-published novel of Minnesota native, John Nemo. Nemo’s knowledge and love of baseball is evident throughout this book which uses the game of baseball as a metaphor for life. Baseball fans will appreciate Nemo’s understanding of the intricacies of the game. Those who don’t follow baseball will enjoy his colorful prose and insight into the human heart and the God—the Father—who loves us.

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