Kelly Hodge penned a wonderful series debut (even though I feel it fell under a slight shadow of controversy) that had me rushing to find this sequel, where the reader is treated to the same high quality. Billy Beckett is a sports agent with a passion for the job and has been making quite a name for himself with a number of headline-grabbing clients. With a past life in the legal field, Beckett knows the pitfalls of dealing with agreements and negotiating settlements, as well as trying to keep clients from jumping at the first sign of money. Beckett is still reeling from the drama to years before when a college football superstar was kidnapped from his own property. Now, he finds himself in rural Tennessee, fly fishing with a man he’s just met. Eric ‘Sheriff’ Sampson has quite the pitch for the agent extraordinaire; represent his up-and-coming granddaughter, MMA fighter Cassie Haynes. The world of mixed martial arts is still fairly new and one in which Billy is not entirely comfortable, but he’s happy to meet with her to see what might be done. However, Billy is called back to Knoxville when one of his clients is arrested for first-degree murder outside Houston. A rookie pitcher for the Houston Astros was seen arguing with a man on the owner’s property and allegedly tied him to the back of his truck. When all was said and done, the victim had been dragged to his death. While the Astros want their rookie sensation to help the franchise, they are less than willing to provide him with stellar legal representation. Billy rushes to help, seeing just how inept things are for his client. As the case is shaping up, things take a tragic turn and Billy is left to wonder if he can prove his client’s innocence posthumously. Licking his wounds, Billy heads to Las Vegas to see his potential client fight in the octagon, hoping to help her create an image as she seeks to climb the rungs towards winning the title. With Sheriff in the crowd and by her side Cassie Haynes has much potential, but a handful of family secrets, both in the past and at present, may unravel a career that is just getting started. Billy Beckett cannot know what awaits him, though he should be ready for any pitfall, even those that masquerade as bumps in the road. Another stellar novel in the series that will have fans of the debut wanting to get their hands on this one. Recommended for those who like something a little different in their mysteries.
Just as I devoured the series debut, I was able to finish this piece in a single day. Hodge has the skill to stand on his own and will surely become a wonderful author in his own right. The recent loss of his mentor (part of the aforementioned controversy) has left Hodge to fend on his own, but this publication shows that he has what it takes to compete with others in the genre. Billy Beckett is a great protagonist, dedicated to his craft and enjoys rubbing elbows with the sports elite. He shows the ability to juggle many clients and their myriad of issues all at once, which benefits the reader seeking a few sub-plots to propel the story forward. There is much to learn about Beckett’s backstory, though tragedy showed itself in the debut novel. Hodge focuses his attention on development, both as an agent and a man seeking to define himself in this novel. Love, dedication, and passion for what is right drive Billy Beckett on a daily basis. Others make their presence known in this series that is full of unique characters who enrich the story in their own way. A handful of athletes in their own situations provide the reader with a cross-section of interesting personalities that flavour the narrative at each page turn. The premise of the series was a little wobbly for me in the debut, but Hodge has defined it here in this novel that is much stronger. Sports agent may sound flaky for a protagonist, but the storylines work well together, meshing and compartmentalising themselves when it is needed. With short chapters and a great sense of influence by his mentor, Hodge offers readers a wonderful style and develops plots with ease. I can only hope that Hodge will keep writing and creating more Billy Beckett intrigue, as I am a real fan of these stories, two novels in!
Kudos, Mr. Hodge, on a great continuation of the series. I noticed you pushed out two novels in short order and have been silent for almost three years. More to come?! I heard a rumour you were taking over for your mentor and developing some of his unfinished work.
A Book for All Seasons, a different sort of Book Challenge: https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/248185-a-book-for-all-seasons