Be the One

April Smith

ISBN 10: 0679450963 / ISBN 13: 9780679450962
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[ No Hassle 30 Day Returns ][ Ships Daily ] [ Underlining/Highlighting: NONE ] [ Writing: NONE ] [ Edition: First ] Publisher: Knopf Pub Date: 6/27/2000 Binding: Hardcover Pages: 336 First edition. Bookseller Inventory #

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Synopsis: From the author of North of Montana ("The writing has the taut, perfect tone of a well-tuned string"--Scott Turow), a spellbinding new thriller about ambition taken to unexpected, and deadly, extremes.

Cassidy Sanderson is a scout for the Los Angeles Dodgers--the only female scout in the major leagues. Hard-living and hard-drinking, a gifted athlete herself, she takes pride in successfully competing in a male world. But recently she has been losing prospects on the sign, and her job security is teetering on the edge. When she gets a tip from a close friend and fellow scout about Alberto Cruz, a young phenom in the Dominican Republic, she impulsively catches a flight to Santo Domingo--even though it is out of her territory and she will undoubtedly incur her boss's wrath. If Alberto Cruz is as good as she's been told, the trip will be worth the risk.

The risk starts quickly. Not only has Cruz "got it all--the heart, the guts, the aptitude," he may also have "a bad spirit on him." And he's not the only man Cassidy meets on the island who might change her life for good or ill. The other is Joe Galinis, a powerful financier and real estate developer, "one of the most provocative men she has ever met." When Cassidy returns to Los Angeles, she finds herself entangled in a blackmail scheme laced with otherworldly vodou and real-life violence: a tightening triangle of suspicion and deception that leads her to the back rooms (and backstabbing) of high-stakes sports and finance--where she is about to discover that there is a thin line between a competitor and a killer.

Once again, April Smith gives us a novel of nonstop suspense--large in scope, emotionally rich, and built around a central character of striking originality and substance. It is an electrifying read.

Review: April Smith's first novel, North of Montana, garnered good reviews and marked her as a writer worth watching. In her second thriller, Be the One, she amply fulfills that promise. Cassidy Sanderson is a woman in a man's world: the only female scout in major-league baseball, Cassidy's not only a former star with a women's professional team but also the daughter of a legendary player and the sister of a promising pitcher who died too young. Baseball isn't just in Cassidy's blood, it's her whole life, and even the daily effort of constantly having to prove herself to her bosses in the L.A. Dodgers head office can't wear out her passion for the game.

She's got a great double play going when she goes to the Dominican Republic and finds both a promising young player, Alberto Cruz, and a powerful, sexy American financier, Joe Galinis, who picks her up when the car carrying her and Cruz breaks down. But once she gets Alberto to training camp, the trouble that's followed her all the way from the Caribbean explodes in blackmail, extortion, and violence, with a mysterious vodou twist:

The thing appears to be a Barbancourt rum bottle, you can see the lettering underneath the red cloth in which it has been tightly wrapped. Lashed to the neck with hundreds of turns of black thread are two pairs of scissors, open wide. Dangling off the bottom on multicolored strings is a bizarre fringe of razor blades that flash like silver teeth.

Her partner says, "What is it? Some kind of punk thing?"

"Gang thing?"

Cassidy holds it very carefully. It spooks her in a deeply primitive way. Unlike the whimsical gourd with the belly-button mirror on her mantel, this bizarre construction is definitely broadcasting on an evil wavelength: the shape of the bottle like a human body.

Smith's characters are sharply drawn, and she's firmly in command of her milieu: the day-to-day life of a baseball scout is brilliantly explicated, the pacing is expert, and the back-stories are well told in flashback. Cassidy is a fascinating woman--hard-working, hard-drinking, and wholly human and vulnerable. Even if you're not a baseball fan, you'll root for her to win. --Jane Adams

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Title: Be the One
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April Smith
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