Will Leitch has long been one of my favorites, if not my favorite sports writer. I’ve followed his career since the early days of Deadspin and though I was sad when he left, I liked how both his career and the site itself blossomed as a result. He’s a fun, friendly, approachable guy who has the ability to cut through the bs in a polite but focused way.
Leitch’s approachable nature is why he’s the first person I ever decided to stand in line for a book signing. Not that he was one of my favorite writers at the time, but that he is just a decent guy who will gladly spend time shooting the bull with a fan.
I was excited to hear he was going to work on a fictional endeavor, his first in almost two decades. I preordered the book with some Christmas money and couldn’t wait to get to it.
It’s a very Will Leitch novel, in ways I found good and perhaps not so good. I like him so obviously, I’d find it good.
Although it has some really twisted moments and the plot of a missing college girl, this book reads as almost a cozy mystery in a quaint southern town. You spend a lot of time with Daniel, the protagonist who has SMA but doesn’t get down too much about it. You learn about his life, his world, the world of Athens. There’s a Hitchcocok-ian element where Daniel’s non-able body has to solve a mystery in an able bodied world. The stakes are high but you never feel like this is going to have a sad ending. Does it though? Read to find out!
That’s part of the shortcoming with the book: I’m not sure Leitch does well with straddling the line here. So he throws in a lot of qualifications and cultural references and Leitch-isms that, again, I’m familiar with as a fan but would kind of annoy me as a reader. This is definitely from the mind of a Gen-Xer-turned-Weed-Dad, though I don’t know if Leitch smokes weed.
Still, it’s a fun book. Stephen King loved it and while I didn’t, I liked it, though admittedly, it’s tough to separate my review from my fondness for the writer.