RARA-AVIS: Noir Sports

From: T. Kent Morgan ( tkmorgan@shaw.ca)
Date: 22 Feb 2008

Despite being a collector of sports fiction, I planned to stay out of this discussion when I saw the word "noir" combined with the word "sports." However, it's clear to me that a number of the books mentioned in this thread don't fall under noir as defined by the many experts on this list so I am jumping in.

First of all, I agree with the positive comments about The Damned UTD by David Peace. I believe I commented in the past about this novel. Here are a few others for your consideration.

The Jook by Gary Phillips involves a former NFL wide receiver who in the words of the late Barbara Seranella is "trying every way he knows to reclaim the life of fast women and big money. All this leads to the end zone run of his life."

The Spoiler by Dominic Stansberry is a novel of minor league baseball and murder where a sports reporter becomes involved with a mysterious woman who provides him with a connection between the baseball team and a series of arsons.

For those looking for rugby novels, Caveman Politics by Jay Atkinson is about a Florida reporter who plays the game and becomes involved in a case where a teammate from Trinidad is accused of rape.

My two favorites are The Last Season by Canada's most versatile writer Roy MacGregor and The Great Molinas by Neil D. Isaacs. The first is about hockey
"goon" Felix Batterinski, who near the end of his career is attempting to come to terms with his life while serving as a player-coach in Poland during the early 1980s. The second is the novelized story of basketball player Jack Molinas whose life was destroyed due to gambling and who was eventually rubbed out by the mob. A hockey goon and a basketball player unable to control his impulses IMO qualify under noir sports.

Kent Morgan

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