Review by Andrea Maloney

Debs Kafka finds trouble has entered his life with a vengeance. His relationship with his girlfriend, Nicole Vermeer, is in jeopardy. He’s unsure if the academic life he has chosen is right for him or if he would rather pursue his dream of being a professional baseball player even though he only has to finish his thesis to get a PhD in criminology. And then his department chair, who he liked and respected, is murdered.

He’s soon given a chance to find out if his dream of being a baseball player is the right choice for him. Yet he can’t stop wondering who killed his department chair and find’s himself looking into his death even though the police already have a suspect in custody who has confessed to the murder. Kafka doesn’t believe the confession suspecting that there is more to the story than just a simple robbery gone bad.

He soon has more suspects than he knows what to do with while trying to deal with his shaky romance, finish his thesis and pursue his dream of playing professional baseball. His search for the truth takes him from the streets of San Francisco, to the scandal filled Catholic Church, into the workings of crime & punishment and deep into the locker rooms of major league baseball. He finds nothing is as it seems, his world is turned upside down and a killer is setting their sites on him.

When I first read the description of the book I thought how could someone possibly combine the worlds of academia, baseball and the Catholic Church. Yet Robert Elias has managed to do this quite well creating a fascinating and informative mystery filled with subtle humor and astute observations.

Some people might find reading it a bit dry in places due to it’s political observations, reference to the Catholic Church and it's problems, baseball trivia and observations about crime & it's prevention in the current day; yet I found it to be very well written and insightful. It is a well plotted mystery, with interesting characters and a fascinating back drop of modern day San Francisco.

Debs Kafka is a character you will want to read more about. He is quite the Renaissance man being well read, scholarly, with opinions about the world around him and with an almost obsessive fascination for baseball.


Andrea Maloney is a stay at home mom and jewelry designer who loves to read. Her favorite books are mysteries, suspense and thrillers. She lives in Massachusetts with her husband, two daughters and one large cat.

Return to Fall 2006 Table of Contents

© 2006 SPINETINGLER Magazine - All rights reserved

Baby Love
If It Bleeds
Behind You!
No Help For The Dying
A Kind of Puritan
A Thankless Child
A Certain Malice