Fishermen will love this book for its attention to detail and for seeing the humor in their obsessions, but a more general...


The Laughing Trout


Fly-fishing enthusiasts turn a lazy fishing town into a madhouse as they try to become the first to snag an ugly trout for a big reward in this playful, good-natured insider’s sendup of the sport.

Ure (Leaving the Fold, 2000, etc.) previously wrote a fly-fishing memoir, but his first attempt at fiction is a community love note to the craziness that the fishing hobby can induce. Jud Buckalew, a trout-fishing guide living with his pet cat, Bob, in a tiny cabin in Last Chance, Idaho, only wants peace and quiet to pursue, à la Captain Ahab, the giant old trout he calls “The Pig.” Upset that his smarmy cousin Mark Bosham—who claims a childhood spent in Paris but neglects to mention it was Paris, Idaho—has been appointed the local fishing inspector, Jud calls on his old friend Rollo Pasco, a State Department employee, and asks him to send frozen samples of a hideous, fanged trout created in a failed gene splicing experiment. Jud convinces Mark that the fish are a new species found in the river, and Mark puts out a $50,000 reward for a live specimen that he could send for genetic analysis. The town residents and fish-seekers are broad caricatures—the crazy naked environmentalist, the older bass fisherman with a priapic medical condition, and the two guys who are amusingly depicted in their home environments as they catch the fish frenzy and try to hide their fishing adventures from their wives. But character interactions are often stilted and shallow, particularly the rapidly developed romantic relationship between Jud and Suzanne Hsu, visiting NBC reporter and “oriental mirage.” This struggle to make his characters play believably against one another means that even when all their stories come together at the river, the farce never really reaches a satisfying peak before scattering back into its component parts.

Fishermen will love this book for its attention to detail and for seeing the humor in their obsessions, but a more general audience may not quite get it.

Pub Date: Dec. 17, 2013

ISBN: 978-1481005326

Page Count: 216

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Feb. 27, 2014

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Smart, engaging sportswriting—good reading for organization builders as well as Pats fans.


Action-packed tale of the building of the New England Patriots over the course of seven decades.

Prolific writer Benedict has long blended two interests—sports and business—and the Patriots are emblematic of both. Founded in 1959 as the Boston Patriots, the team built a strategic home field between that city and Providence. When original owner Billy Sullivan sold the flailing team in 1988, it was $126 million in the hole, a condition so dire that “Sullivan had to beg the NFL to release emergency funds so he could pay his players.” Victor Kiam, the razor magnate, bought the long since renamed New England Patriots, but rival Robert Kraft bought first the parking lots and then the stadium—and “it rankled Kiam that he bore all the risk as the owner of the team but virtually all of the revenue that the team generated went to Kraft.” Check and mate. Kraft finally took over the team in 1994. Kraft inherited coach Bill Parcells, who in turn brought in star quarterback Drew Bledsoe, “the Patriots’ most prized player.” However, as the book’s nimbly constructed opening recounts, in 2001, Bledsoe got smeared in a hit “so violent that players along the Patriots sideline compared the sound of the collision to a car crash.” After that, it was backup Tom Brady’s team. Gridiron nerds will debate whether Brady is the greatest QB and Bill Belichick the greatest coach the game has ever known, but certainly they’ve had their share of controversy. The infamous “Deflategate” incident of 2015 takes up plenty of space in the late pages of the narrative, and depending on how you read between the lines, Brady was either an accomplice or an unwitting beneficiary. Still, as the author writes, by that point Brady “had started in 223 straight regular-season games,” an enviable record on a team that itself has racked up impressive stats.

Smart, engaging sportswriting—good reading for organization builders as well as Pats fans.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-982134-10-5

Page Count: 592

Publisher: Avid Reader Press

Review Posted Online: Aug. 26, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2020

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A quiet delight of a book.



A journalist’s biography of the unassuming but gutsy 67-year-old Ohio grandmother who became the first person to walk all 2,050 miles of the Appalachian Trail three times.

When Emma Gatewood (1887–1983) first decided she would hike the A.T., she told no one what she planned to do—not even her 11 children or 23 grandchildren. Instead, she quietly slipped away from her home in May 1955 and began her walk at the southern terminus of the trail in Georgia. Accomplishing this feat—which she often described as “a good lark”—was enough for her. Tampa Bay Times staff writer Montgomery tells the story of Gatewood’s first hike and those that followed, interweaving the story with the heartbreaking details of her earlier life. He suggests that this woman, who eventually came to be known as “Queen of the Forest,” was far from the eccentric others claimed she was. Instead, Montgomery posits that this celebrated hiker used long-distance walking to help her come to terms with a dark secret. At 18, Gatewood married a man she later discovered had a violent temper and an insatiable sexual appetite. Despite repeated beatings over 30 years, she remained with him until he nearly killed her. Afterward, she lived happily with her children for almost 20 years. Montgomery suggests that an article in National Geographic may have been what first inspired Gatewood to hike the trail. However, as her remarkable trek demonstrated, while the A.T. was as beautiful as the magazine claimed, it was also in sore need of maintenance. Gatewood’s exploits, which would later include walking the Oregon Trail, not only brought national attention to the state of hikers’ trails across a nation obsessed with cars and newly crisscrossed with highways; it also made Americans more aware of the joys of walking and of nature itself.

A quiet delight of a book.

Pub Date: April 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-61374-718-6

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Chicago Review Press

Review Posted Online: Jan. 16, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2014

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