I love baseball. Actually, maybe I should rephrase that. I love going to baseball games.  I’ve never played, not even softball, I’m not a big fan of wathcing games on tv and listening on the radio is almost torture, but I truly enjoy going to games in the summer, cheering, eating, wearing the requesite team t-shirt. And yes, often going away wishing my team had won – I’m a fan of the Pittsburgh Pirates, not the best team in the league.

David and I have thought for a couple of years that it would be fun to go down to spring training. Hang out in warm Florida, see some games, a baseball vacation. Cat McDaniel, the main character in Jen Estes’ Curveball, doesn’t go to spring training, but she does head south, spending the winter in Santo Domingo at a Buffalo Soldier’s training camp. She’s hoping for a job with the team as the team writer, but first has to spend three months blogging and more-or-less babysitting the General Manager’s college-aged, spoiled-rotten, ditzy daughter, Paige.

Not long after the pair arrive in Santo Domingo, they meet Chance Hayward, an agent who Paige is definitely attracted to. The whole situation gets complicated when the three find a dead body on the beach and a sobbing, hysterical woman accuses Hayward of killing the young man.

Cat is a great character, fun, tenacious. She loves baseball and is flat-out a good reporter, the reason she’s hoping for a job. Her last expose left her unemployed. She cares about the local prospects who are being taken advantage of by unscrupulous agents. Of course, her investigations head her straight into danger herself. And I think that her down-to-earth, reponsible attitude contrasts nicely with Paige’s happy go lucky attitude. On the surface they’re as different as can be and seem to despise each other, but you know that they actually do like each other. Some of their conversations and interactions were really funny, too.

I was a little disappointed in the whodunnit, but that didn’t really detract from my overall enjoyment of the book. It’s no surprise I liked it, it’s a perfect combination for me – mystery, baseball, a female amateur sleuth, a sunny setting when it’s cold here in Ohio, and a few laughs.

This is the second in the Cat McDaniel series, but I didn’t feel like I missed much by not reading the first. We get a pretty good idea what happened in the first but the summary is simply included in Cat’s backstory.

3 out of 5 stars

Category: Mystery

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Cat McDaniel #2
Published October 1, 2012 by Camel Press
312 pages

Cat McDaniel Mysteries

  1. Big Leagues
  2. Curveball
  3. Double Play (expected April 2013)

Book source: For review

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