you had everything you had ever dreamed about. Now think about how you
would feel if, on the very eve of the start of your professional life,
you were accused of a horrible crime you did not commit? For Matthew "The
Rocket" Rising—the winningest college quarterback ever—the evidence was
compelling, but he knew he was innocent. Who would stand by him? As he leaves prison after a twelve-year sentence, he's about to find out.
The novel opens with the story of another young player:
He sat on the floor, towel around his neck, drenched in his own sweat, eyes trained on the screen. Football in one hand, a half-eaten banana in the other, a bottle of Gatorade in his lap. She sat next to him. Jeans. Older sweatshirt. Legs crossed. Remote in one hand, laser pointer in the other. Staring through reading glasses. Her hair had turned. Once deep mahogany, now snow gray. The turn was not unexpected; the timing was. Life had amplified genetics. In her early thirties, she was technically old enough to be his mom, but the last third of those years had not been kind. It wasn't so much the wrinkles as the shadow beneath them. He was a rising senior, a seventeen-year-old kid strapped with immeasurable talent, high hopes, and dreams he'd only whispered. . . .—Life Intercepted by Charles Martin (Little Brown / Center Street, 2014, p. 1)
- Setting: U.S. South, modern times
- Circumstances: Before Matthew can make it to his first NFL practice, he is accused and convicted of a horrible sex crime he says he did not commit. Now out of prison, he decides to risk all to help a young football player and to regain his wife's love.
- Characters: Matthew (then and now); his wife, Audrey; his best male friends; Dalton, a high school player; various people from his football days, his prison days, and current life
- Genre and audience: contemporary fiction; women's fiction
- Themes: trust, love, making the best of things, second chances, redemption
- Some early positive thoughts: I picked this novel up intending to read only a couple of pages, but before I knew it, I was about 75 pages into the story. I like that Matthew is not a feel-sorry-for-me kind of person, though he of course wants his good name back. I'm also glad to see that his friends are, understandably, a little uneasy around him now. The story obviously pulled me in, so that's a good thing.
- What I'm still questioning: Although I'm intrigued by the premise, I wonder if the story is going to be too predictable. Because I don't know much about Matthew's wife or Dalton yet, it's hard to say. I'm not a huge fan of women's fiction or unrealistic love stories, but I find the prose to be engaging, and I'm interested in Matthew and how he ended up in prison.
- Recommendation: Too early to tell, but I'm hooked. It seems to be a quick read and would be great for a lazy Saturday, an airplane ride, or the beach.