The Set Up Man

The Set Up Man
T. T. Monday

March 11, 2014
ISBN: 978-0-385-53845-9

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"Monday knows his baseball. . ."

Author T. T. Monday describes males in his novel “The Set Up Man,” as, “… men living our boyhood fantasies.” It’s a narrative about worshipping athletes and accommodating them, told in low-brow street language with sexual overtones.

The main character, Johnny Adcock, a 35-year-old-left-handed pitcher for the big leagues, has a side job as a detective investigating the underworld of prostitution and pornography. Young backup catcher Frankie Herrera, in the same club as Adcock’s, the “Bay Dogs of San José” is being blackmailed by someone who has a sex video that implicates his wife. Shortly after Adcock starts poking around, Herrera is murdered.

It is a challenge to determine which is the back story: The game of baseball, or the players. Throughout the novel, Monday adds tension as he writes, like a sports announcer at a rival’s game. Meanwhile, the story of the players unfolds, constantly traveling and training, and as a result unable to keep their marriages intact. So, of course, they are vulnerable. And yes, Tiger Woods is mentioned.

These lonely athletes are perfect targets for the “sale of foreign girls to American men.” And who knows that best, but former baseball players. Adcock uncovers it is the team’s own former players, now retired, who are selling sex. Ex-slugger Bam Bam Rodriguez has become a pornographer, and Marcus Washington, a former pitcher, operates a sushi bar that also offers the services of “Afro-geishas.”

Monday knows his baseball, so for that insight, the book fulfills the “engaging” category for sports fans and the detective mystery adds intrigue, but overall it is not a memorable book.

Reviewer: Kate Padilla