Murder at the Foul Line Review
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Basketball players have often found themselves making headlines for more than just their accomplishments on the court. In fact, the greatest stars may play like gods, but off the court, their behavior isn’t always heavenly.

The fourteen short stories in this collection have two things in common: basketball and crime. The players in these stories aren’t the most angelic of characters. They’re murderers and gamblers and drug dealers. They’re cheaters and abusers. They have egos so enormous that they wind up shot dead in an alley.

The collection contains stories by award-winning authors—like Lawrence Block, Jeffery Deaver, and George Pelecanos—as well as screenwriters, sportswriters, and more. Some take place in NBA arenas or on NCAA courts, while others take place on well-worn neighborhood courts. But all express a deep love of the game.

As with any short story collection, in Murder at the Foul Line, you’ll find favorites—those that you’ll want to re-read—as well as not-so-favorites. But all of the stories in this collection are worth reading—especially for readers who are looking for something to keep themselves occupied between the end of the game and the beginning of Sports Center. Some, however, are especially noteworthy. Deaver’s “Nothing But Net,” about a naïve player and a team of conmen is well-crafted, with plenty of plot twists. Mike Lupica’s “Mrs. Cash” tells the captivating story of a wronged wife out for revenge. Pelecanos’s “String Music,” the story of a player on the streets trying to rise above—with the help of those around him—is especially powerful and moving. And R.D. Rosen’s “Mamzer,” the story of a long-kept secret, tells a fascinating tale of the way the game used to be.

This is a great collection for basketball lovers—and for anyone who can’t get enough of crime fiction. If you’re a hoops fan, you’ll want to have a copy on your bookshelf—even if you don’t read it until the off-season.

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