• U.S.

Books: Freelance the Cheat

2 minute read
Peter Stoler

Bobby Giaquinto’s wife is “a soft, pale girl who bruised easily and feared penetration.” As compensation, he brings a succession of sad, passionless women to his office, and there on the couch Bobby proceeds to make sad, passionless love. Between affairs, the magazine writer cranks out puff pieces about celebrities. He hates his life, his frustrating marriage, the hack work that gets him through the day.

But the routine continues until he meets Sheila Doyle, a strong-willed woman who has recently changed her life by jettisoning her husband and their four children. She tries to alter Bobby’s life as well, when he is assigned a major story and learns that a popular, born-again Christian baseball pitcher, who hopes to parlay his piety into a political career, deliberately drove a rival player to his death.

Will Bobby go public with the truth? Will he create a new scandal with his love affair? In his first novel, Jordan, author of a poignant memoir about minor-league baseball, A False Spring, continues to show a canny sense of time and place. His descriptions of the stressful world of the freelance, his evocations of athletes’ bars, locker rooms and motels have verisimilitude and humor. True, Jordan’s plot, like his characters, is a bit worn, but it is also, like them, wholly credible.

More Must-Reads from TIME

Contact us at letters@time.com