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Playing for Pizza

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About the Author

Since first publishing A Time to Kill in 1988, Grisham has written one novel a year (his other books are The Firm, The Pelican Brief, The Client, The Chamber, The Rainmaker, The Runaway Jury, The Partner, The Street Lawyer, The Testament, The Brethren, A Painted House, Skipping Christmas, The Summons, The King of Torts, Bleachers, The Last Juror, and The Broker) and all of them have become international bestsellers. The Innocent Man (October 2006) marks his first foray into non-fiction. Grisham lives with his wife Renee and their two children Ty and Shea. The family splits their time between their Victorian home on a farm in Mississippi and a plantation near Charlottesville, VA.


Christopher Evan Welch kicks and scores with his engaging narration of Grisham's charming tale of touchdowns and tortellini. Rick Dockery, a 28-year-old third-string NFL quarterback, is playing for the Cleveland Browns. In the final minutes of a decisive game, Rick is brought off the bench to disastrous results. The Browns lose the game and a chance at going to the Super Bowl. After he is unceremoniously dumped by the team, the quarterback agrees to play for a small but tenacious team called the Parma Panthers--whose playing field is in Parma, Italy. Welch perfectly captures the tone for this humorous and often touching fish-out-of-water story. Welch brings the listener along with Rick, as the young quarterback painfully adjusts to the strange new world he's thrust into. He brings to life Rick's discovery of Italy, with all its history and colorful characters. Especially delicious are the descriptions of the rich Italian foods that Rick and his teammates seem to constantly consume. By the end of the book, listeners will be seeking out the nearest Italian trattoria. Simultaneous release with the Doubleday hardcover (Reviews, Sept. 24). (Oct.) Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.

Unlike anything else Grisham has written, this almost whimsical novel will baffle many of his devotees. However, it may delight other listeners, particularly die-hard football fans and lovers of Italian cuisine. The story traces the fall and rise of National Football League (NFL) quarterback Rick Dockery, who after a spectacularly bad performance in a playoff game signs with a team in the Italian professional football association. How he adjusts to life in northern Italy and struggles to succeed on the field would make for a charming story if he were drawn more sympathetically, but he's not. What appeal the book does have lies mostly in Grisham's loving explorations of Italian cuisine and culture and in his surprisingly acute analyses of how Americans and Italians play American football. Unfortunately, Christopher Evan Welch's unpolished narration adds nothing to the book's appeal. Recommended with reservations.-R. Kent Rasmussen, Thousand Oaks, CA Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.

"Enthralling." --People "Score another one for Grisham...This is a fish-out-of-water tale that perfectly suits his strengths as a storyteller." --USA Today "A light-hearted story of football, food and love." --Richmond Times-Dispatch "Football in Italy? Who knew? Grisham means to have a sweet time with this story of a fallen NFL quarterback. And he does." --Daily News (New York) "Delightfully comic...a deeply satisfying story." --The Boston Globe "Charming...the author's love letter to Italy." --Publishers Weekly

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