Newsletter: Bumsted Picks of 2015: Michael's Pick

Monday Nov 30 2015
by Whodunit

Hangman’s Game by Bill Syken (HC, $29.99)

Deciding on my Book of the Year proved quite difficult this year.  Typically, I choose the book that has stopped me in my tracks, and was read in as quick a time as possible.  However, this year, the books that fit that latter profile were books that I consumed quickly because I was so excited about the author’s previous book.  Not that I was disappointed with those books, necessarily, but none of them would have grabbed me on their own. 

So I moved down my mental list of nominees and started to think about the books that I read that I was surprised by.  And despite a frantic search through the autumn new releases to find a book that would surpass it, I came back to a book I read earlier in the year which has stuck with me more than any other, Bill Syken’s Hangman’s Game.

Following a punter on a fictional pro-football team, Nick Galloway, Syken (a sports-journalist) presents a look into the modern football locker room, and the life of the least publicised player on a team.  Drawing on his experiences, and the problems of the American professional sports landscape, Syken creates a realistic world for his characters to move around in.  Galloway himself, as with nearly all accidental detectives, is seeking distraction from the problems of his own world, and having been at the scene of the murder of a teammate, finds himself pursuing the truth. 

I found this book to be refreshing.  I am not sure if it was just because it was a change of pace for me, but after quickly digesting this straightforward and neatly contained mystery, I found myself reaching for my laptop to find out when the next one would be arriving.

If you have a football fan on your list, I would heartily endorse this book.  Even if your gift recipient is not a football fan, there is more than enough depth to the mystery, and the world of Nick Galloway for you to take a punt on it for yourself.

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