Looks like ex-slugger Harvey Blissberg (World of Hurt, 1994, etc.) is headed for a major-league depression. Fifteen years after hanging up his Providence Jewels uniform, ten years after a lengthy stint as a private eye, and six months after his last tour as a motivational speaker, Blissberg can’t summon up enough motivation to open a jar of salsa to accompany his ever-present bag of Doritos. But his outlook changes faster than a Randy Johnson slider when he gets a phone call from his old skipper Felix Shaloub telling him that Jewels owner Marshall Levy wants to hire Blissberg back—ostensibly as “motivational coach” for a team flirting with their first successful season in years, but really to babysit Moss Cooley, the Jewels’ franchise player, whose run at DiMaggio’s 56-game hitting streak is making every racist in the bleachers mighty nervous. Kissing a quick goodbye to his longtime girlfriend, ESPN sportscaster Mickey Slavin, Blissberg packs his Smith and Wesson .38 and heads down I-95 to whisk Cooley from his 7,000-square-foot digs in Cranston to a more modest rental complete with motion detectors. But no matter what Blissberg does, the threats keep on coming, and soon enough he has to wonder whether the real target is Cooley’s streak or something even darker and meaner from out of the past.
Like contact-hitter Cooley, Rosen gets solid wood into Blissberg’s return, turning out a sequel that’s stylish and substantial.