THE SHAKE by Jim Patton


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This first novel from sports columnist Patton (Rookie: When Michael Jordan Came to the Minor Leagues, not reviewed) charts the thoroughly unpleasant misadventures of a videotape showing a basketball star enjoying himself with an underage teen.

Which of the following people would this situation be most likely to get into serious trouble? (A) Audrey Van Kirkman, a.k.a. “Little Bang,” the basketball groupie who’ll go to any lengths with any player to get back at her racist father, the preening media shrink who hasn’t a clue what his daughter’s up to? (B) LaPrince Wheatley, the phenom lately signed by the Portland Plunder, who doesn’t break off his unexpected encounter with Little Bang when she informs him she’s only 16? (C) Rod Yardley, the wealthy realtor who’s thoughtfully supplied the pad, the booze, and the blow to provide LaPrince the perfect romantic setting, but neglected to inform him that he’ll be videotaping the action? (D) Tommy Mason, the has-been reporter who avenges his ridicule by the Plunder’s in-crowd by sneaking into Yardley’s place and purloining the tape? (E) Richie Bodie, the lowlife acquaintance Tommy takes his find to? The answer, of course, is (F), all of the above, and more, especially when LaPrince’s no-nonsense agent Bernie Herman, the star’s ex-con half-brother LaMetrius (Wink) Jefferson, and Wink’s buddy, pumped-up half-pint Titan Milton, get into the act. That smell of gunpowder is from all the loose cannons going off—and it’s what prevents the eventual detectives, Assistant D.A. Max Travis and his rival and lover, public defender Paige Prescott, from cutting much of a figure themselves, even when they get pulled into danger along with everybody else.

Patton’s plot, fueled by slick moves and a knowing air of debauchery, drives forward relentlessly, though it’s hard to care about the fate of a crew whose vile behavior has earned every felony that befalls them.

Pub Date: July 1st, 2000
ISBN: 0-7867-0737-2
Page count: 256pp
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1st, 2000


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