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The Mighty Johns [Paperback]

Otto Penzler
2.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)

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Book Description

May 1 2003
An all-new original novella by bestselling author David Baldacci highlights this collection of mystery from three of the greatest names in suspense. Include the title story by Baldacci, "The Empire Strikes Back" by Brad Meltzer, and "The End of Innocence" by Anne Perry. Unabridged. 4 CDs.
--This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

The extraordinary novella by thriller king David Baldacci that leads off this exceptional anthology of new fiction centered on crime and football is alone worth the book's cover price. "The Mighty Johns" is one of the more remarkable stories ever written on a sports theme, boasting an array of original plot spins infusing quantum physics (e.g., Heisenberg's uncertainty principle and the possibility of time warp) into this tale of a college football player's investigation into the disappearance of another college pigskin star decades earlier. Every Baldacci fan will want to read "The Mighty Johns," and they'll be joined by legions of others, because veteran editor Penzler has put together a team of authors that's simply all-star. Colin Harrison and Dennis Lehane contribute "Good Seats" and "Gone Down to Corpus," respectively, the former a fluid if hard-bitten tale of vengeance, the latter a powerfully moody tale of alienated youth (varsity players). There's a superb offering from Anne Perry, "The End of Innocence," set in a small English village on the eve of WWI. This story imagines a rugby match (fairly chosen as the English counterpart to American football) as a backdrop to murder, delivering an indelible evocation of a peaceful corner of the world shadowed by war. Legendary PI writer James Crumley tells a mordant tale of a former player, now a loser, who turns to bank robbery, in "Semi-Pro," while another mystery great, Lawrence Block, turns in the nicely black-humored "The Ehrengraf Reverse." Bestselling authors Brad Meltzer (with the clever, MIT-set "The Empire Strikes Back") and Tim Green also take the field, the former pro baller with "Whatever It Takes to Win," with tough-minded PI (former player) action that's perhaps Green's most accomplished writing yet. Mike Lupica, Brendan DuBois, John Westermann, Peter Robinson, Carol O'Connell and Gary Phillips round out the players in the most exciting sports fiction anthology in years.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

David Baldacci lives with his family in Virginia. He and his wife have founded the Wish You Well Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting literacy efforts across America. He invites you to visit him at: www.david-baldacci.com and his foundation at www.wishyouwellfoundation.org .


Otto Penzler is the proprietor of the Mysterious Bookshop in New York City. He is the founder of the Mysterious Press and Otto Penzler Books, and has received an Edgar Award, an Ellery Queen Award, and a Raven Award for his contribution to the mystery field. His recent anthology, The Black Lizard Big Book of Pulps was a New York Times Bestseller.


Scott Brick has performed on film, television and radio. His stage appearances throughout the U.S. include Cyrano, Hamlet, and MacBeth. He's read over 150 audiobooks in four years-for that, AudioFile magazine named Scott "a rising and shining star" and awarded him as one of the magazine's Golden Voices. The Audie- and Earphone Award-winning actor has read several Macmillan Audio audioBooks, including Dune: The Butlerian Jihad and Dune: The Machine Crusade by Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson. In addition to his acting work, Scott choreographs fight sequences, and was a combatant in films such as Romeo and Juliet, The Fantasticks and Robin Hood: Men in Tights.


Martin Jarvis is one of Britain's most distinguished and versatile actors. He has narrated and produced audiobooks in the UK and is beginning to apply his narrating talents to audiobooks in the U.S., as well. His appearances in West End theater productions are numerous, including Sir Peter Hall's On Approval, Alan Ayckbourn's Woman in Mind, and Michael Frayn's Exchange, a performance he repeated in Los Angeles. Martin's appearances for BBC Television include classics: Nicholas Nickleby, David Copperfield and The Pallisers; P.D. James's The Black Tower; and episodes of Inspector Morse and Rumpole. Jarvis is also one of Audiofile's Golden Voices.


Brad Meltzer was raised in Brooklyn and Miami. He graduated with honors from the University of Michigan and earned a degree from Columbia Law School in 1996. He has written speeches for President Clinton's national service program, devised marketing strategies for "Games" magazine, and earned credit from Columbia for writing his first book, which became "The Tenth Justice". He lives in Washington, D.C., with his wife, Cori, also an attorney.


Anne Perry is the bestselling author of two acclaimed series set in Victorian England: the Charlotte and Thomas Pitt novels, including Seven Dials and Long Spoon Lane, and the William Monk novels, most recently The Shifting Tide and Dark Assassin. She is also the author of the World War I novels No Graves As Yet, Shoulder the Sky, Angels in the Gloom, At Some Disputed Barricade, and We Shall Not Sleep, as well as the holiday novels A Christmas Journey, A Christmas Visitor, A Christmas Guest, A Christmas Secret, and A Christmas Beginning. Anne Perry lives in Scotland. Visit her website at www.anneperry.net.
--This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars I'm Being Generous Oct. 7 2002
Format:Hardcover
A couple of the stories are actually engaging. "A Sunday in January" and "Whatever It Takes to Win" are by far the best of the lot. I would like to have seen the latter flushed out into a full length novel, and I could actually see it being developed into a screenplay. The rest of the stories are barely readable. Baldacci's novella is nowhere near the level of his writing in his full length books.
PLUS, this is by far the WORST EDITING JOB I HAVE EVER SEEN. I am embarrassed for the authors that their work (as much as I didn't particularly enjoy the stories) appeared in this collection. Page 61 alone had four typographical errors, and it got worse from there. It seemed that every story had a different problem, from periods in the middle of sentences, to transposed 'that's and 'what's, to missing words, misspelled words, forgotten periods and appostrophes--it was atrocious. It literally made the book unreadable.
I wanted desparately to enjoy the stories, but the lack of effort put in by the oft-acclaimed Otto Penzler ruined the experience.
Do not buy this book. All it will do is infuriate you to think that the publisher and editor are profitting from such a shoddy product. Save your money. And if you have already purchased this book, spend another 37 cents on a stamp to send New Millenium Press and Otto Penzler a letter of complaint. But don't forget to proofread before you send it!
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4.0 out of 5 stars Football and Intrigue..what more could I ask for! Aug. 12 2002
Format:Hardcover
Just the very idea of putting together a book such as this was true inspiration. To those of us who really enjoy the sport of football; the "the thrill of victory...the agony of defeat": the sheer joy of playing and all the suffering and fatigue that go hand in hand with the game..well, you will love this book!
Baldacci gets us off to a roaring start with 'The Mighty Johns'..a mystery within a mystery...within a mystery. And although I enjoyed all the other writers his was the best and set the pace for some marvelous reading.
It is impossible to pick one author over another because each one's approach to the subject is entirely different with each story superbly written and executed; with brisk characters and no lagging in the story lines. I don't usually re-read a book right away, but I did with several stories in this one. Fantastically skilled writers whose imaginations soar to the heights..and you follow them till the last word is written and absorbed.
For several hours of sheer enjoyment..pick this one up! You won't regret it!
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1.0 out of 5 stars Pass July 25 2002
Format:Audio Cassette
This must be the summer of the spaced out best selling author. First there was "The Beach House", James Patterson's preposterous tale of vigilante justice against a super rich sleaze-ball. Then we get Baldacci's even more absurd story about brainy college jock Tor North looking in a maze of tunnels beneath the college stadium for a legendary running back who disappeared 40 years before. The premise, the investigtion and particularly the conclusion are ..., sorry I'm lost for the adjective that expresses the inanity of this story.
Two follow on short stories, one a morality play about a murder and a soccer game that took place at the outset of WWI and the second by Brad Meltzer that draws on the classic MIT pranks at Harvard-Yale games, were actually pretty good. WARNING! The unabridged audiobook captures every word of Baldacci's ridiculous novella but omits the stories by the likes of Lehane and Lupica that I gather were part of the book. Don't expect them if you try the audio version.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Parallel Universe? July 14 2002
Format:Hardcover
I bought this because of the blurbs on the jacket (from Publisher's Weekly and a host of celebs.) Since all of them pertained to the title story, it seems only fair to rate the book on that basis, even though the other stories vary from passable to, actually, quite enjoyable. But that first (title) story is, well, it's abysmal! The plot is inane! The dialogue resembles nothing spoken by living human beings anywhere on the planet! The prose is so many shades darker than purple that no sprectrometer could calculate it! And even the editing reflects all this. No less than three times is the word "though" rendered as "thought", several "the"'s become "he" and one assumes the printer ran out of "w" so left "was" as "as".
In short, this is either one of the most egregious examples of prose by a so-called professional I've ever seen, or I'm living in a parallel universe wherin the matters of style, substance, and grammar are reversed.
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1.0 out of 5 stars The Big Tease! July 27 2002
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
This book was so bad, I can't believe I read all of it! The editing was even worse than the stories! One story began with a character named "Perry", but two pages later, the character's name was "Terry." Baldacci's story was long and slow to get going. His characters were described in such detail, I found myself skipping over half of the garbage he wrote. Other stories lacked detail and were never fully developed. Most of the stories were so stupid, I kept wondering why I was waisting my time reading more. I am a huge football fan, so this book was a massive disappointment. I KNOW I could have written more provacative stories that delivered than this book did. Bottom line, if you feel you need to read it, buy it used or check it out from the library. That way, you'll only feel cheated out of your time instead of both your time and money!
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Most recent customer reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars The Mighty Johns
I was really expecting something special after reading Publisher's Weekly's review. I thought the story was predictable and rather foolish. Read more
Published on Oct. 10 2002
1.0 out of 5 stars Don't waste your time
I couldn't have been more disappointed in this book. I am huge Baldacci, Meltzer, Green fan as well as a football nut, and I thought this would be a great read (similar to Tim... Read more
Published on Aug. 15 2002 by PATRICK
1.0 out of 5 stars Worst read of the year
I read 60-100 books per year; I love football; I enjoy David Baldacci's work. Sooooo, this book would be a natural, right? Wrong! Read more
Published on July 31 2002 by Augustine J. Fredrich
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic!
This best selling author has combined the world of mystery and intrigue with the pure excitement of football. Read more
Published on July 26 2002 by Jim Franklin
3.0 out of 5 stars Who proofed this book???
Baladacci's story was very good, although I don't think it is one of the "more remarkable stories ever written". Read more
Published on July 17 2002
5.0 out of 5 stars Tackle This . . .
After hitting the best-seller list shortly after it's release, "The Mighty John's" has proved itself to be one of the years few rewarding mysteries. Read more
Published on July 16 2002 by Jessica Marie
5.0 out of 5 stars Tackle This . . . .
After hitting the best-seller's list shortly after making it's way to bookshelves everywhere, "The Mighty John's" proves itself to be an one of today's few intriguing... Read more
Published on July 16 2002 by Jessica Marie
4.0 out of 5 stars Good Read , but did anyone proof-read this book ??
I enjoyed the individual stories, but was really bothered by the quality of the final product. So many mis-used words,incorrect spellings,etc. Read more
Published on July 14 2002 by Geoffrey P. Clement
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