An uneasy story of entitlement gone wrong, first in a series about the players on an Ohio high school football team.
Though the sport of football is taking some serious lumps today, there are still those who think the players possess a special mojo. As tight end, one of the elite, Brian Norwood is falling into that trap, and he is part of the hazing rituals the seniors wreak on the juniors, pranks that can turn into crimes. Jones writes with an unvarnished sense of being there and with a taste of the rightly judgmental. The white knight is Dylan, another potential member of the inner circle, who finds the rituals not just distasteful, but shameful, but Brian falls short. Peer pressure has sunk better men, but in the end, Brian doesn’t own his abominable behavior. If Jones had wanted this to be cinéma vérité, where the path is never straight and the mood is existential, then the story had to be much more subtle and the skies lower. As it is, Brian loses readers’ sympathy, and the point of the story is too grim for its essential cluelessness. Publishing simultaneously in the Red Zone series are Breakthrough, by A.L. Priest; The Option, by Herman Brown; and At All Costs, by Jones and Brent Chartier.
Pungent but also sour. (Fiction. 11-18)