Book Review: Hardball

Hardball

T. Hitman

Tommy Bruno, the aging star center fielder for the Seaside Top Socks, returns for spring training smarting from an ugly divorce and furious to discover he has been paired as roommate with the hot-dog rookie Tim Weare.  It isn’t long, however, before Bruno discovers the advantages of rooming with a man in his sexual prime.

Soon the rest of the Top Socks get in on the action, including manager Mitch Hudson, star pitcher Roger “Thunderbird” Twain, hirsute catcher Damon “The Werewolf” Thorne, Latin sensation Hector Valenza, and the team’s 18-year-old Italian batboy, Ricky Catalano.

The season is full of surprises, both on and off the field, but in the end the Top Socks’ teamwork stands them in good stead, pushing them into the play-offs and a World Series showdown against their arch rivals, the Philadelphia Pilots — whose hated star pitcher has been sleeping with Bruno’s ex-wife.

This book is dirty dirty dirty dirty dirty dirty… and I like it.

This novel is almost non-stop sex.  Guys are masturbating left, right, and centre, there are blowjobs galore, and tons of sex.  I’d say that about 70-80% of this novel consists of sex scenes… yet Hitman somehow manages to string together a sports plot and a romantic subplot.  A lot of that is accomplished through the sex scenes.  That takes skill, but it’s also the mark of a good writer.  A sex scene should never exist just for the sake of being a sex scene — even in an erotic novel.  A sex scene must always be there for a good reason, a reason that furthers the plot.  (In erotic novels, sometimes a sex scene will further the erotic/romantic plot — so it still does have a reason.)

While the ending is quite predictable, the journey there is a lot of fun.

What I found particularly enjoyable about this novel was that while it featured the first-time gay sex experiences of Bruno, Hitman spends very little time having Bruno agonizing over what a same-sex experience means about his sexuality.  So, it’s a self-discovery novel without all of the typical emotional mumbo-jumbo of most other self-discovery novels.  And I think it works well here because of the macho and masculine environment that Hitman portrays.  Emotions in the locker room?  They’re generally unwelcome.

Hitman made a few choices in his writing, however, that I felt detracted from the narrative.  Yes, I get that this is a sports book and it revolves around a baseball team, but I found Hitman continually referring to a cock as a “bat” to be distracting.  And an ass is almost always called a “can.”  There was little variation in how Hitman referenced body parts, which is surprising given the huge variation in how he referenced characters.  The characters were easily the most confusing part of this novel — there’s a whole baseball team of men, plus the manager, plus the batboy, plus a couple members of Bruno’s family, plus the archrival referenced in the blurb above… and I found it nearly impossible to keep them all straight.  Hitman would sometimes refer to characters by the first name, last name, team position, nickname, or ethnicity — so, other than a small number of characters, I could never remember who’s who.

Now, I know my first line called this book very dirty.  Holy crap was it ever.  (But in a good way.)  There is a wide variety of sex scenes, both in terms of location and acts, and they progressively get dirtier or more daring — as they should in a novel.  The intensity of sex must increase as the novel goes on, and Hitman does just that.  I was surprised when I first realised all the sex in here is bareback (which means unprotected, for anyone unfamiliar with the term).  And then my eyebrow went up quizzically when people started sniffing each other’s piss-stained jockstraps.  Then I was mildly disgusted at the first ass-to-mouth scene (which I’m not going to define here — you can Google it).  And I was a little more disgusted, but quite intrigued, by the several acts of felching (again, not defining it here, Google is your friend).  And, finally, I was surprised by the two watersports scenes, even though they were foreshadowed very early in the novel (again, Google is your friend).  I wasn’t aware that any publisher would touch a watersports scene, as many submission guidelines for erotica publishers explicitly state they will not publish it.

While the sex came fast and furious and didn’t let up, I sometimes found it a bit much.  I took quite a while to read this book because it was non-stop sex… which is usually a good thing, but I found here I couldn’t take sustained readings of it.  However, I’m not saying that’s an actual problem — I read a handful of pages every single night, so Hitman’s writing pulled me in and kept me coming back.

I had found this book in a used book sale and almost didn’t buy it.  When I flipped through it and saw the scene where the batboy is measuring the giant cocks of two of the players, I knew I had to take it home.  I’m so glad I did — this was an awesomely erotic read.

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2 Comments

Filed under Book Reviews, Reading

2 responses to “Book Review: Hardball

  1. Pingback: What I Read in 2013 | Cameron D James

  2. Pingback: Book Review: Punk Chicken | Cameron D James

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