"Play Dead," by Ryan Brown is a story that's just plain fun.
The author mentioned that he wanted to write a story about steroids in sports after seeing what has been going on in professional sports in recent times. He does a good job with this novel.
Set in Texas, the story is also a satire about the fanatical following of high school football and the manner in which football can almost take over small town life. This seems particularly true in Texas but is often seen elsewhere.
In the story, the local high school football team, the Killington Jackrabbits, are having their best year and are only one win from going to the district championships.
The key to the team is quarterback Cole Logan. He's attacked one morning by three masked men who he thinks are members of the rival team, the hated Elmwood Heights Badgers. When Cole won't give in to their demand that he throw the game, they cut off two of his fingers. However, not thinking clearly due to the steroids, they cut the fingers from the wrong hand and Cole is still able to throw a football.
When this doesn't succeed in stopping the Jackrabbits, the members of the Badgers, led by a sadistic player named Booker, who has become almost insane due to overuse of steroids, set a new scheme. The result is that they create a situation where the bus carrying the team is in an accident and plunges off a bridge into the water below, killing the entire, team, or maybe not.
Both Cole and the coach's daughter, Savanna Hickman, are entertaining characters. These high schoolers are drawn to each other in a love-hate relationship that is interesting to see and humorous in the situations in which they find themselves.
Cole's neighbor, Mona, is described as a crazy witch-lady who as an ability with black magic. With her participation in the story, there were elements that were very visual. I was reminded of Stephen King's "Pet Sematary," where animals return to life but eventually behave in a horrific manner.
Overall, I recommend this book for the entertainment value and message about the abuse of steroids. The conclusion was a stretch but readers interested in adventure yarn and not concerned with the logic of a story will like this.
I had this book on my shelf for about a week or two. I passed it on the way to the shower, I passed it in the middle of the night to soothe my son's scary dreams, and I passed it on the way to get clothes for work. And every time I passed it I swear I had to stop and look at the cover because it freaking creepy. Once I smartened up and stopped the stupid window shopping, I had a BLAST reading this book! Amongst the Texas football and the squishy gore was a humor that was as grotesque as it was funny. … more
When a fatal school bus kills everyone on board except for the school quarterback, Cole, he knows deep in his bones that it was no accident. His team, the Jackrabbit's were determined to beat the Elmwood Heights Badgers and win the district championship. Their dreams were cut short in this tragedy but Cole isn't ready to give up. With a little help thanks to black magic, Cole resurrects his teammates. This is where the story gets really interesting. I read a bunch of rave … more