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Tampa Tribune: Nine Bucks a Pound ‘bubbles and percolates with action and tension’

March 11th, 2014 · No Comments · Nine Bucks a Pound, Reviews

The first review of Nine Bucks a Pound is a doozy. Bob D’Angelo of The Tampa Tribune really delves into the issues facing both Del Tanner and his agent Ian Wicker and the consequences of the choices they make. He sums things up by calling the book “a satisfying cocktail of prose.” I like the sound of that.
Here are some excerpts:

James Bailey has a writing style that is as smooth as the left-handed swing of Del Tanner, the main character in his second novel.  Once again, the Rochester, N.Y., author has written an engaging story with characters readers can relate to — even if the underlying theme is the use of performance-enhancing drugs.

“Nine Bucks a Pound” (Sun Field Press; paperback; $13.95 paperback, $3.99 Kindle; 338 pages) explores steroid use and the decisions struggling minor-league players sometimes must face. Is it better to toil in mediocrity and never realize your dream of making the majors, or is it better to go outside the rules for that extra edge that could land you on a big-league roster?

He does a nice job of presenting both Del and Wicker and introducing their conflicts, then says:

It’s easy to dismiss those players who use performance-enhancing drugs as cheaters who will do anything to get an edge. And Bailey, in “Nine Bucks a Pound,” is not trying to make heroes of those who crossed the line. But it’s hard not to sympathize with Tanner, who makes it to the majors, becomes the American League rookie of the year, and then has to face a firestorm when his denials about steroid use begin to unravel. The decision he makes in the end shows his courageous side.

In other words, a clear conscience is the softest pillow.

After going even further into the story (it’s a very thorough review), he concludes with:
Bailey’s second novel mixes baseball, romantic tension and testosterone into a satisfying cocktail of prose. It bubbles and percolates with action and tension. Even the cover is eye-catching, as it depicts a bobblehead of a baseball player wielding a syringe like he would grip a bat (I collect bobbleheads; this idea by Rey Flores was really cool).

Nice hat tip there to Rey Flores, who crafted the bobblehead on the cover, which came out even better than I could have imagined.

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