Friday, September 20, 2019

FFB Review: Parker Field: A Willie Black Mystery by Howard Owen

For the full list of reading suggestions for this Friday in September 2019, head over to Todd Mason's Sweet Freedom Blog.

The third in the series, Parker Field: A Willie Black Mystery begins in April and with a gunshot. The weather cuts like a knife and feels more like the middle of March so nobody really should have been sitting on a bench in Monroe Park. Yet, somebody was out there and was shot. That park is just across the street from Willie’s apartment building. As he is the reporter for the crime beat, one of his several bosses at the paper sends him over to cover the story.

It isn’t until he is on scene and sees the victim that Willie realizes the man that was shot is Les Hacker. For all intents and purposes, the man is his father as he has had such a huge presence and role in his life in recent years. Not that they are related by blood, they are still family and he has been the best thing to ever happen to Willie’s mom, Peggy. Les Hacker has no enemies and yet somebody has deliberately shot him.

Answering the question as to who shot him and why seems to be a police matter so Willie is more than content to let them figure out the case as he spends time at the hospital. As many contacts and family friends begin to show up at the hospital, one is Jimmy Deacon, better known to all as “Jumpin’ Jimmy.” A man of nervous energy with a nearly constant ability to speak in the third person about himself, the man is intense. He is also a reservoir of knowledge regarding minor league baseball in Richmond, Virginia, and the surrounding areas. So, he knows a considerable amount of history regarding the last team Les Hacker played for, the 1964 Richmond Vees.

As Jumpin’ Jimmy explains it, Les Hacker isn’t the only one on the team to be shot. Fellow players Lucky Whitestone and Phil Holt were both victims of gun violence as well in recent years. They are not the only players who are dead before their time either.

The more he learns from Les when he is awake enough to talk and from Jumpin’ Jimmy, the more it seems that the shooting has to be connected in some way to that 1964 team. Many of whom who have died in the years since and often in violent ways long before their age and health issues would have naturally struck them down. Pitching the story to the newspaper bosses as a follow-up to the members if the 1964 team—a where are they now type piece--- gets Willie the freedom to chase leads as he starts trying to identify the motive of the shooter as well as that person’s identity. Hopefully, chasing the story won’t get Willie Black killed.

Third in the series behind Oregon Hill and The Philadelphia Quarry, Parker Field: A Willie Black Mystery is another very good read. All the established characters make return appearances. Some of those appearances result in discussions of past events. Plenty of mystery and the frequent flashes of sarcastic humor prevalent in the previous books are also present here. Parker Field: A Willie Black Mystery is another very good read in a series that should be read in order. 

Parker Field: A Willie Black Mystery
Howard Owen
The Permanent Press
July 2014
ISBN# 978-1-57962-361-6
Hardback (also available in audio and digital formats)
224 Pages

Material supplied by the White Rock Hills Branch of the Dallas Public Library System.

Kevin R. Tipple ©2019

1 comment:

Mathew Paust said...

Another one for my list. Hacker's the roofer who saved Willie's butt in an earlier story, as I recall. It's a good series.