Book Banter — The Player

playerTitle: The Player

Author: Brad Parks

Length: 319 pages

Genre: mystery

Plot Basics: Eagle-Examiner investigative reporter Carter Ross is on the trail of why poor residents in one part of Newark NJ are getting mysteriously sick. As his journalistic pursuits unfold, he finds himself in the middle of brownfields clean-ups, real estate development, environmental protest, shady lawsuits, and mafia money laundering — and he may have also invited two women to be his date for his sister’s wedding.

Banter Points: Brad Parks is winning awards left and right for his books and it’s no wonder. He just took home a Shamus for last year’s “The Good Cop” and “The Player” might be ever better. The story grabs hold from page one and doesn’t let go. Parks may be pulling familiar antics — Carter has another new intern, there are girl troubles and Deadline the cat is soporific at best — but he infuses it with freshness so it isn’t formulaic.

Bummer Points: I’ll have to wait another year or so for the next one.

Word Nerd Recommendation: The whole series is good, but you can jump in with this one and not be lost. It might be near the end of the year, but don’t be surprised if this pops up on a top ten list for us this year.

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