Dead Ringer - A Raptors HQ NBA Off-Season Book Report

RaptorsHQ reviews the medical/crime thriller, Dead Ringer.

So it's the middle of August.

The top NBA stories revolve around Joe Johnson's shoe collection. The top Raptors stories involve rumours of Jamaal Magloire returning to the club.

As i sat down on my itchy couch one Sunday afternoon, seeking article inspiration, I remembered an email I had received from a publicist, asking if we'd review a book that her company, Blue Dot Literary, was promoting.

It's obviously not something we usually do here at the HQ, but the premise of the plot sounded interesting and hey, it's not like we had heard back from the head honchos at Primo Past yet.

As I waited for the HQ team to show up for beer pong...

....er...

filming, I figured I'd dive in.

The book's description started as follows:

While speaking at a Hong Kong medical conference, neurosurgeon Dr. Lucas McCrae slips the cloth off a cadaver's head during a routine medical demonstration, and is overwhelmed by what's staring back at him: The face of his best friend, Andy Baer.

Duh duh duh duhhhhhhh.

I liked the sound of that, and immediately launched into murder-mystery mode.

So as noted above, the scene is set by Dr. McCrae finding what appears to be his buddy Andy's head on the demonstration table at this conference. He returns home to look for his friend, only to find that indeed, Andy is missing, and that no one has really even noticed.

From there, Dr. McCrae is like Reggie Evans going after a rebound, he just won't give up, and ends up partnering with some unusual allies to help figure out what happened to his buddy. I won't go into the whole tale, but suffice to say that he uncovers a pretty shady body-snatching scheme of sorts, something that extends as far as the government.

After that initial Sunday afternoon spent reading, it took me only a few more sessions to finish the book. Between the style of writing and the plot itself, it was admittedly hard to put the book down and author Allen Wyler does a great job of keeping you engrossed from beginning to end.

Well, almost.

The one complaint I had was in fact the ending, which was a bit too abrupt for my liking. After all the build up and intrigue, the conclusion just felt a little hollow to me.

But overall, this was a very good book. I was admittedly skeptical at first as being an Agatha Christie fan, I tend to find current mystery writing a bit unsophisticated, particularly in terms of character development, but this was pretty solid. You can tell that author Wyler knows this subject matter quite well, which always makes for more engrossing content.

I now want Wyler though to leave the medical/crime thriller theme (this is is second novel of this type) and take on the Dinos, applying this sort of style to the narration.

What, the main character finds out that Andrea Bargnani's advanced stats are no different than Al Harrington's? Amir Johnson was having an affair with someone at MLSE, hence his spotty play last year? James Johnson wasn't happy with the haircut the team barber gave him, sulked, and that led to his benching?!

Imagine the possibilities!

...Yep, this is the kind of impact a prolonged NBA off-season can have on you and that's why we're pretty excited that the Raptors' annual Media Day is less than 48 hours away.

But in the meantime, pick up Dead Ringer (Amazon.com works), you won't be disappointed.

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