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Williamsport Sun-Gazette review of A Pitch For Justice

On the Bookshelf

Readers enjoy books about baseball, spies

December 20, 2012
Williamsport Sun-Gazette
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At the Sun-Gazette, staff members tend to read. A lot. So we thought we would share what we're reading and let you know how they fare.

Submissions from the community also are encouraged and may be mailed to the Lifestyle Department, 252 W. Fourth St., Williamsport, PA 17701 or emailed to life@sungazette.com.

We also are interested in what you want us to read and review; just send us an email or give us a call at 326-1551, ext. 3108.

Reader: Mike Reuther, political and business reporter.

What I read: "A Pitch for Justice" by Harold Kasselman

Synopsis: A young Major League pitcher faces possible consequences for unleashing a fatal pitch that kills an opposing player.

Stats: Amazon Digital Services Inc., 325 pages.

What I thought: What would happen if a Major League pitcher threw a ball that struck and killed an opposing player?

Should the pitcher face trial? What criminal charges would he face?

Author Harold Kasselman, a former prosecutor and defense attorney, decided to put together a legal thriller that explores these questions.

Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Tim Charles is the ballplayer who throws the pitch that kills a New York Mets player.

Jaime Brooks is the somewhat reluctant prosecuting attorney who agrees to take on the case.

He's a big baseball fan and is very much aware that the unwritten baseball code of pitchers throwing at hitters - without necessarily trying to hit them - has long been part of the game.

The author does a nice job introducing the story and the events that lead up to the fatal pitch.

There's bad blood between the Phillies and the Mets, and the task of sending a message to the Mets falls to Charles.

The young hurler is a big talent, capable of throwing a ball 100 mph.

He has never thrown his overpowering fastball at hitters.

But in this case, what actually happened?

That's the big question in this story.

Much of the novel is played out in the courtroom prior to and during the ultimate trial.

Kasselman knows the legal world well.

Beyond that, the characters are believable, especially Brooks, a divorced veteran lawyer thinking of retirement who finds himself falling in love once again.

The Phils manager, a no-nonsense, old-school, hard-drinking sort, is facing trial along with Charles for apparently giving the go ahead for the fatal pitch.

There's the victim's angry widow determined to see justice done, no matter the costs.

The author breathes life into a story that explores some difficult questions while not getting bogged down in too much incomprehensible legalese.

Readers of "A Pitch for Justice" will likely share my experience as they near the end of this story: Clicking away the pages of their e-reading devices to find out if Charles will be convicted or acquitted