SUDDEN DEATH by Peter Brennan


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Tennis, anyone? Not on this court, thank you. In every way inferior to last year's pro tennis circuit novel, Braddon's The Finalists, Brennan's paperbacky product charmlessly mixes match-by-match reportage with backhanded sex and overhand-smash violence. It's 1970, and aging champ Alex Wrangler, famous for psyching out opponents with grim practical jokes or sexual temptations, has his share of problems: the mixed blood and whore-mother in his past; the whore-girlfriend in his present; the terminal tennis elbow in his future. And teen-age Aussie Fletch Sampson is up and coming after his title. Both players take turbulent detours into semi-retirement or the bush leagues on the way to their, big match eight years later--Alex's schizo buddy kills a fellow player and is later shot in revenge, Fletch impregnates a teen love who marries somebody else--but all characters remain as fiat as Wimbledon's grass. And plausibility is hardly enhanced by the 1970-1978 dates--with which tennis fans will associate real matches--or a silly finale that has Fletch's old-pro dad keeling over at exactly the right shlock-movie moment. Double fault.

Pub Date: May 5th, 1978
ISBN: 1410419053
Publisher: Rawson--dist. by Atheneum