Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Making the Call: The Big Time by Tim Green

"I'm Drew Edinger: I'm staying with a client who lives a few streets away. I'm the boy's father."

"You're not his father," Troy's mom said.

Drew looked at Troy, gave him a sly wink, and said, "You're saying he belongs to someone else?"

Troy White is sitting on top of the world when he answers that doorbell. His phenomenal game analysis skills have just taken his own team to the Georgia Junior Football Championship. With his help the Atlanta Falcons are one game away from a shot at the SuperBowl, and Troy will be there on the sidelines to help call the plays. And Troy and his mom are already beset by agents offering to make him a fabulous deal with some NFL team willing to pay to get his football genius skills on their coaching staff.

But with the appearance of his unknown father, Troy's world shifts like the glass in a kaleidoscope. His mother, dubious of Edinger's motives, is reluctant to allow him to see his father alone, but Troy, eager for the father he's never known, sneaks out at night and goes to the palatial house of rapper C Money, where his father is staying, and when his dad brings him home, persuades his still hostile mother into letting him see him again.

Edinger reveals that he's a lawyer for big-time celebrities, including Atlanta's local superstar, C Money, and eventually wins Troy's mom's grudging consent to fly Troy to New York on his private plane to try to set up a contract deal with the Jets. Troy's dad works an eight-figure ten-year deal, with a five million dollar advance, and his mother, retaining the power final approval on the deal, agrees to let the talks proceed until she sees the final contract.

Troy should be riding high, with an expectation of riches for himself and his mother far beyond their dreams and with the annual Georgia-Florida Junior Football All-Stars game coming up, a chance for him to show off his own playing skills before the top coaches in the SEC. But his mother's doubts about his father's motives remain, and Troy himself, while thrilled to spend time with his glamorous and talented dad, begins to notice things about his style that are troubling.

Then several FBI agents appear at his door. They are investigating his father's various questionable financial dealings which appear to involve money laundering for a crime syndicate and Troy begins to realize that his father plans to expropriate his advance from the Jets to pay off his obligations to the gangsters who are pressing for their money. Troy is asked to plant a listening device hidden in an ordinary-looking quarter inside C Money's house to gather evidence, evidence which can send his father to prison, and he realizes he has a big call to make, a call which will affect the rest of his life.

In his latest, The Big Time: A Football Genius Novel (Harper, 2010), Tim Green brings his own varied skills together to provide another middle reader sports thriller in his Football Genius series. A former Atlanta Falcons player, a lawyer, and best-selling author, Green uses his background to provide exciting game play and high-powered legal wheeling and dealing as the setting for a suspenseful action tale for upper elementary and middle school sports fans. Although Troy's "football genius" abilities and his sudden immersion into the murky waters of big-time sports money and crime are a bit beyond the usual bounds of the sports novel genre, Green's storytelling skills will keep readers engaged to the end, even tossing in, as he does, a last-page literary screen pass signalling yet another book in this best-selling series.

Earlier books in this series include Football Genius and Football Champ: A Football Genius Novel.

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