4 stars (out of 5)
I've had great success, so far, with snagging no- and very low-cost books at sites like Lendle.me, Freebooksifter.com and BookBub.com. Part of that success, though, comes because I never fail to check the ratings of other readers as well as the track records of the authors before I forge ahead.
This time, though, there were only four customer reviews - and I'm always a little suspicious when every single one gave the book 5 stars (most writers easily can scare up that many friends and relatives who are willing to say wonderful things, after all). But the description sounded interesting, and Fishman has a strong background as a former editor at Doubleday and literary agent in New York plus two thrillers to his credit. Since the price through BookBub was was right - just 99 cents - I figured it was worth a shot. And I'm happy to say this one hits the target.
The story centers around the nation's winning-est inner-city high school football coach who loves his players more than life itself. When his star running back, who is headed for The Ohio State University [Go Bucks!!],is accused of rape, everything starts to fall apart. Then even worse things begin to happen that lead to the coach's financial wizard brother, who dabbles in a secret marketplace called the "dark pool" together with other money-hungry investors - some of whom apparently will do anything to avoid a financial crash-and-burn. Could there be a connection that is pitting brother against brother? Is there a future for the once-powerful football team and its coach?
The book is quite well written and I wouldn't hesitate to read another book by this author, but I gave it 4 stars for this reason: About 40% of the way through (I don't have page numbers on my Kindle Fire books), it suddenly struck me that unlike most other thrillers, I didn't feel compelled to keep going. At that point, I realized, I hadn't established much of a rapport with any of the characters. In fact, I could have put the book down and never opened it again without any great sense of loss.
I didn't, of course (my mama didn't raise no quitter), and after another couple of chapters, the action started to pick up and I grew enthusiastic enough that I polished it off without stopping. I was pretty sure what would happen in the end - and I was right - but exactly how it would happen, and to whom, kept me guessing right up to the last few pages.
The Dark Pool by J.E. Fishman; StoneGate Ink (January 2013); 323 pp.