Book Review - The Hockey Saint

The Hockey Saint (Forever Friends, #2)The Hockey Saint by Howard Shapiro
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

After I got 'Stereotypical Freaks' off Netgalley, the author suggested I check out his other titles. I was planning to anyway, as SF was a strangely fun read for me.

This one isn't quite as successful or cohesive. The song recommendations are jarring in a book about sports and lacking any mention of music at all. Those worked in SF because the band would often play songs which had been recommended to the reader, so it made for a good match. Here, it just doesn't work and after a while I stopped looking at them - only noticed the chapter title.

Not entirely sure of the point of this story either. There seemed to be point to SF, despite its overly preachy third act, but this one... it's just a story. Loose ends aren't tied up; that works in a realistic setting, but not sure if it helps the narrative.

For the longest time the story just meanders along and you keep wondering what the point of Jake being a paragon of virtue is. He's a hockey superstar with a heart of gold, some addiction issues, a secret and a bad reputation. He seems a complicated character but never gets an arc.

In hindsight I realise Tom, our protagonist, is supposed to be shallow but he never comes across as such. He's a nice guy who makes assumptions about what Jake's actions mean - but it's not his fault if he believes Jake's visit to a hospital will be about signing autographs, that's kind of how celebrities work.

I'd rate the book a lot higher if I could understand what it was trying to say. Two really nice people doing really nice things isn't much of a story. I know the book is called 'The Hockey Saint', but honestly, no one's really a saint.

The third act concentrates on some bad guys trying to dig up dirt on Jake through Tom, but it's a sub-plot that falls flat because they aren't any stakes for us to fight for. If Jake was worried about being benched once his addictions came to light, it would make sense. If Tom was desperate for money and at least at some point looked like he would do anything to get some extra cash, it would make sense. No stakes, no interest.

I was looking forward to this one, but have come away quite disappointed.

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