There is nothing unusual about Hollywood celebrities speaking out on behalf of their favorite presidential candidates, but not so much Major League Baseball players. Until now, in author Dennis Hetzel’s new thriller Season of Lies (Headline Books, Inc.).
Enter Trey Van Ohmann, a star pitcher hired by the Chicago Cubs, to help the team build a new baseball dynasty, following their recent World Series victory. But just as the baseball season gets underway, so does a heated, three-way presidential race, and that’s when things start getting nasty.
You see, President Luke Murphy, the incumbent Republican, has been keeping a secret since his college days, until one of his opponents decides to leak the dirty details to a talk radio show. With his campaign—and his marriage—in jeopardy, Murphy, a loyal Cubs fan, enlists Van Ohmann’s endorsement, much to the chagrin of his teammates and the team’s owner, who happens to support one of the other candidates.
What follows is a complex story about a dirty presidential campaign and a baseball team striving for another championship, told from different characters’ perspectives. With such issues as sexual politics, religion, terrorism, fake news and scandals, “Season of Lies” has more twists and turns than a curve ball.
“Season of Lies” is a sequel to Hetzel’s debut novel, Killing the Curse (with Rick Robinson), which also was about the Cubs. No surprise there, considering that the author is originally from Chicago. He is also a journalist, having worked for The Capital Times in Madison, Wisconsin; York Daily Record in Pennsylvania; and the Cincinnati Enquirer. As such, he brings a reporter’s perspective to the political aspects of the novel and a sports fan’s passion to the baseball portions.
Like a tied baseball game with bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth, Season of Lies is full of suspense. It would make an excellent summer read, not just for those who love baseball and politics, but anyone who enjoys great thrillers.