How to Turn a Kid into a Football Fan

ESPN and radio sports personality Howard Bryant has football tome for young readers; a former Oakland cop spins a serial killer yarn; and unlikely couple searches their pasts.


Published:

Legends: The Best Players, Games, and Teams in Football by Howard Bryant (Philomel Books, 2015, $17.99, 305 pp.)

Sportswriter Howard Bryant, a former Oakland Tribune staffer well known for his Saturday morning commentary on NPR, has a new book out for readers ages 8 and up that’s sure to turn budding sports lovers into bona fide football fanatics. It’s a roundup of the 20 most exciting games in Super Bowl history and the second in his Legends series. It recounts mergers, victories, losses, and miracles, beginning with the Packers and the Chiefs in Super Bowl I and concluding with the Seahawks and the Patriots in Super Bowl XLIX. There are top 10 lists and a timeline of football’s most important moments plus memorable gridiron photos. Bryant is a senior writer for ESPN The Magazine and has authored five other books.

Red Line: A Matt Sinclair Mystery by Brian Thiem (Crooked Lane, 2015, $18.99, $11.75, 362 pp.)

This police thriller stars Oakland, dying teenagers, and a killer who must be thwarted by our hero, Sgt. Matt Sinclair of the Oakland Police Department. Sinclair is a former ace homicide detective whose career goes sideways from the aftermath of wartime duty in Baghdad and Fallujah, a bad bust, and alcohol. Sinclair must double down to look for connections in seemingly unrelated killings that are mounting in Oaktown. Police jargon—like GSW, SC, and YSD, for gunshot wound, suspicious circumstances, and youth services division—slows the rhythm slightly but sets a believable procedural tone. Not surprising since the author served 25 years with OPD and is an Iraq war veteran. This is his first novel.

Stumbling Stone by Rudi Raab and Julie Freestone (Alvarado Press, 2015, $14.95, 249 pp.)

A female Jewish reporter originally from the Bronx moves to Berkeley and falls for an Aryan-looking German-accented Berkeley cop. They hook up in 1989 and find they were both living in Hamburg in 1950 just eight miles away from each other as they were growing up in post-war Germany. That’s the real story of Richmond couple Rudi Raab, the son of a high-ranking Nazi, and Julie Freestone, daughter of immigrant Jews. They use their unusual connection as the basis of their historical novel. In it, reporter Sarah Stern and policeman Karl Schmidt drift from present to past from the East Bay to Germany, unraveling their families’ histories, mystersies, and secrets as they become more entwined and in love.

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