The Setup Man: A Novel
T. T. Monday
Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub
“A throwback Southern California mystery in modern pinstripes . . . A treat for readers of mystery or baseball novels.” —KIRKUS REVIEWS
Johnny Adcock is an aging Major League pitcher with the perfect retirement plan—he moonlights as a private investigator. Major League Baseball, as it turns out, is a prime source of employment for a philosophically inclined, discreet detective who has both the brains and the brawn to handle the unique problems of professional athletes. Those infamous baseball salaries attract gangsters, hustlers, and predators of every persuasion who prey on the outsized egos of primetime stars. When players, coaches, agents, or wives have a problem they can’t make public, they call Johnny Adcock.
On the team bus after a game, teammate Frankie Herrera confides in Adcock that he has a “problem with his wife.” What sounds like the standard story of a pro athlete’s marriage gone sour quickly turns into the most dangerous case of Adcock’s second career when Frankie is killed in a car accident, leaving far too many questions unanswered.
The investigation takes Adcock into uncharted territory, drawing him into a deadly ring of murder, porn, Mexican cartels, and a conspiracy that threatens to become the biggest scandal to hit baseball since HGH and steroids.
A new heavy hitter on the thriller scene, T. T. Monday takes readers inside a rich and highly entertaining world where crime and baseball intersect and delivers a debut that moves like a 96-mile-an-hour fastball.
José the home team’s bullpen is in foul territory behind third base. When you go to warm up, you take someone with you to guard the bullpen catcher from foul balls. On my way up the dugout steps, I tap Díaz on the shoulder. “Grab a glove,” I say. “Me?” “Warm-up time.” As I toss the ball back and forth with the bullpen catcher—who is a coach, by the way, not a player—I see Díaz losing himself in the action on the diamond. He is watching every pitch, every checked swing, every pickoff attempt,
ask Marcus. “Guess I was pumped,” he says. “Guess so.” I reach in and touch Bam Bam’s tattooed wrist. The flesh is cold to the touch. “You want head or feet?” “Seriously? Feet.” “Okay, count of three.” The body is as stiff as a bundle of two-by-fours, which means my uneven grip on Bam Bam’s head and shoulders is good enough. I take care not to let the fingers of my left hand slip too far inside the cavity where the skull was blown out. The brain is cold, too, and firmer than I expected. It
“Where is he?” I say to the room. The diners go silent, the cowards, before a chunky gal in an asymmetrical coral dress points to the kitchen door and says, “He went that way.” I nod my thanks and charge on. The kitchen is bright, hot, and steamy. It smells strongly of beans and cumin. One of the cooks’ cell phones is playing a norteño love song, something about a heart as big as the moon. Everyone stops what they are doing. Peppers burn on the grill. Fajitas sizzle in cast-iron skillets. “Who
girl, and then there is a flash of movement—limbs swirling, sweeping. Marcus fells the widow with a leg tackle. Then shots, one-two-three-four. A body thumps to the floor. The room vibrates with gunfire, and the air fills with concrete dust. Wrists still bound behind me, I drop to the floor and find myself next to the prone, black lump of Maria Herrera’s bodyguard. The back of his head has been removed, replaced by a messy hash of hair, blood, and brain. My stomach seizes. I perform a quick
free a couple of years before he dies. It’s a disappointing outcome, given how many bodies piled up, but I’m satisfied. Justice is so often subverted in this state that a conviction of any kind for a man so obviously guilty feels like a major victory to me. The cops never find the computers Marcus removed from Bam Bam’s office—another credit, I’m sure, to the yeoman work of Marcus’s brother—but they do locate Bam Bam’s account with a commercial cloud-backup service. The cache of evidence