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Force Out

Review

Force Out

“So shines a good deed in a weary world…”

--- William Shakespeare, Merchant of Venice

When everything around 12-year-old Joey Riordon implodes and things look bleak, he decides to right a single wrong and fix his life. Will it work? Does telling the truth really have that much power? That it’s never too late to tell the truth is a tough lesson for the young baseball player to learn, and it takes a cascading downfall of many things for him to understand how important the principles of truth and honesty can be. Tim Green’s latest novel highlights the value of truth against the setting of an important time in Joey’s blossoming baseball career. Green tangles the young first baseman in a web of deceit, lies and dishonesty, all of his own making. In the beginning, Joey thinks he is doing himself and his best friend a favor, but his actions set in motion a disheartening chain of events that only Joey can repair.

"Green twists things around and around in FORCE OUT, holding the reader in suspense until the last minute, which is exactly what’s so exciting about a force-out play in baseball. Anything can happen."

William Shakespeare first offered the words, “So shines a good deed in a weary world,” in his masterpiece play "The Merchant of Venice," written around 1597. Green revives the catchy phrase in FORCE OUT as a favorite quotation also said in the contemporary movie Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. Joey’s mother, who is a sheriff’s deputy by day and super-mom the rest of the time to the two Riordon boys, says it’s her favorite quotation and repeats it when good things happen. But Joey’s previous actions have trapped him in a no-win situation just like his worst baseball nightmare --- the force-out play.

Two ball players from the same team cannot occupy the same base at once. When a batter hits the ball and runs to first base, any players already on the bases must advance to the next without being tagged out. A force-out play is when a base runner must advance but doesn’t make it to the next base and is out. The game is over for him at that point. To young Joey, the force-out play symbolizes everything he worries about where baseball is concerned. He never wants to be forced out of the game that means everything to him.

The force-out play is a zero-win situation for a ball player, and Joey’s antics have placed him squarely in the cross-hairs of his worst nightmare. But it’s his best friend and partner-in-crime Zach who is getting forced out and all because Joey is hiding something. When Joey contrived his plans and then the cover-up, he didn’t bargain on his police-woman mom being such a dogged detective. What she uncovers about the incident threatens to break her heart, until her son has his own change of heart. Green twists things around and around in FORCE OUT, holding the reader in suspense until the last minute, which is exactly what’s so exciting about a force-out play in baseball. Anything can happen.

Reviewed by Joy Held on March 18, 2013

Force Out
by Tim Green

  • Publication Date: March 5, 2013
  • Genres: Fiction, Sports
  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins
  • ISBN-10: 0062089595
  • ISBN-13: 9780062089595