Blurb: Twelve years ago Matthew “the Rocket” Rising had it all. Married to his high school sweetheart and one of the winningest quarterbacks in the history of college football, he was the number one NFL draft pick. But on the night of the draft, he plummeted from the pinnacle of esteem. Falsely accused of a heinous crime with irrefutable evidence, it seemed in an instant all was lost—his reputation, his career, his freedom, and most devastatingly, the love of his life.
Having served his sentence and never played a down of professional football, Matthew leaves prison with one goal—to find his wife, Audrey, whom no one has seen since the trial. He returns to an unwelcoming reception from his Gardi, Georgia, hometown to learn that Audrey has taken shelter from the media with the nuns at a Catholic school. There she has discovered a young man with the talent to achieve the football career Matthew should have had. All he needs is the right coach. Although helping the boy means Matthew violates the conditions of his release and—if discovered—reincarceration for life, he’ll take the chance with hope of winning back Audrey’s love.
Review: I had a hard time with this one. There are parts that I really enjoyed, which is pretty rare for me and male authors. Then there are parts that were incredibly hard to swallow.
One of the biggest hurdles for me was connecting with and believing Audrey’s character. Someone who manages to earn her own nickname as a girlfriend or a spouse in the world of sports because of her support and defense of the guy she is with doesn’t work as the same person that breaks so easily or quickly when things get ugly. I felt this way about the fact that Matthew’s teammates also don’t stick by him and believe in him more. If you spend so much time and that closely with another person, you know their character and what they are capable of for the most part. When something so utterly outrageous occurs, even with the evidence provided, there is should be a whole lot more support there that what is presented in this book, especially from the wife.
The fact that the wife then only visits once while he is in prison, for 12 years, yet he stays loving and loyal to her when she didn’t stay by his side makes it all that much harder. Then, when the truth comes out, everything is all roses and light on both sides.
The entire story, no matter how well written and presented, runs along that ultra perfect line. The most perfect football career, perfect wife and then the everything is beautiful and perfect in the end with everyone able to forgive everything. The guy was sent to jail for 12 years and had his entire life destroyed. Sure, you have to be able to find peace with that on some level or it will eat you alive. The way it was presented here just didn’t work for me. Apparently, I’m not that forgiving of a person.
I also could have done without the football lessons. There is a level that is needed to understand the story and get the gist of what is going on, but a huge chunk of this could have easily been cut down. I ended up skimming over large portions because it started to feel like I was reading playbooks and primers on how to play football. Once you get to a certain level of that, it becomes tedious filler.
All of that said, this author has a way with words that really drags the reader in to what is going on. I was excited by the overall story, just not some of the specifics that round it out.