MIKE LUPICA – Jump. DiMaggio #1, Villard, hardcover, 1995. Kensington, paperback, 1996. Pinnacle, paperback, 2002.

   I like Lupica’s crime novels, and his sportswriting as well. He’s not bad on ESPN, either. He’s written three novels inn the [investigative TV journalist] Peter Finley series, and this has the feel of a series as well.

   DiMaggio has an illustrious last bane (if he has a first nae I missed it) and had a much less lustrous career in baseball than his namesake. now he’s a lawyer, and specializes in investigations involving sports figures — at which trade he’s de Man.

   He’s got a dandy coming up. The young, black successor to Michael Jordan has just been accused, along wth a white teammate, of raping a white woman. The accuser waited a year to come forward, and the team’s owners want Dimaggio to find out the truth, preferably that she’s lying.

   As he starts sorting through everyone’s dirty laundry, he finds that no one is clean and pure, and that to some there are secrets worth killing for.

   Lupica is a smooth, facile writer. A pro. He has the good sense to write what he knows, sports, and his knowledge and insight deepen the book considerably. The story is told from multiple viewpoints — DiMaggio, the accused, the accuser, a sleazy tabloid journalist — and told very effectively.

   The book paints a telling portrait of big-time athletics and athletes, and is far from one-sided in its depictions. It’s an easy read but a good one, and I hope he does more DiMaggios.

— Reprinted from Ah Sweet Mysteries #19, May 1995.

Editorial Update:   It is not easy to say for sure, but I do not believe that Mike Lupica wrote another DiMaggio novel. He’s written several dozen books, almost all involving sports, including a series of YA mysteries, but Jump appears to have been a one-and-done for DiMaggio as a series character.