Doubleday Doubletake

One Ball, Three Strikes, One Man Out (The Cooperstown Trilogy)

Fiction - Sports
Kindle Edition
Reviewed on 05/23/2022
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Frances Deborah Kerr-Phillips for Readers' Favorite

Doubleday Doubletake by JB Manheim is the third novel in the Cooperstown Trilogy. Manheim does not disappoint his fans, managing yet again to create a plot of dazzling ingenuity. The Commissioner of Baseball plots to halt and reverse the financial demise of Major League Baseball. Professor Dickens of the mysterious Applied Human Potentiality Department at Columbia University is funded by the billionaire Paul Chi Mannington to unearth anything in the beliefs of Theosophy that could have a technological application. Mannington appoints Adam Wallace to unravel a mystery involving Abner Doubleday, one of baseball’s forefathers and a Theosophist to boot. Manheim keeps the reader intrigued as to how on earth these seemingly disparate storylines will ultimately collide and resolve. The reader cannot but be hooked!

JB Manheim is a master at luring his reader into his stories. The title Doubleday Doubletake is immediately enticing, whilst the chapter headings are somewhat unusual, with the potential to turn a casual perusal of the novel on a bookshop display into a definite sale. I particularly enjoyed Manheim’s incorporation of photographic ‘evidence’ into the novel as this lends a sense of reality to what is already a blur of fact and fiction, rendering the reader malleable to what actually could be or could have been true. The plot gathers momentum, and Manheim’s twists and turns continue apace until the very last page, where the final twist is sprung. I was left wondering – is this it or could there possibly be a fourth book?

Anne-Marie Reynolds

Doubleday Doubletake: One Ball, Three Strikes, One Man Out by J. B. Manheim is the final book in the Cooperstown Trilogy. In 1839 in Cooperstown, Abner Doubleday was said to have invented baseball and his name is everywhere. He was an interesting man, not least because he was a military hero and a Major General and was credited with firing the first cannonball when the Confederates attacked Fort Sumter - the start of the Civil War. However, while he had a varied and interesting military career and even had a statue raised in his honor at Gettysburg, baseball historians dispute that he invented baseball in its modern form. When the Doubleday myth first came about, he was dead and there is speculation that he was part of a conspiracy led by a religious leader called Albert Spalding. Did Doubleday invent modern baseball? Are the historians right? Or wrong? Or both? Paul Chi Mannington, a tech entrepreneur, and Adam Wallace, our resident baseball sleuth, set out on a journey to find the truth but they are not the only ones on the hunt.

Doubleday Doubletake by J. B. Manheim is a fitting ending to the Cooperstown Trilogy. Yes, like the other books in the series, you can read this as a standalone but, having read the entire trilogy, I wouldn’t recommend it. Some characters spill over from earlier books into this one and, if you haven’t read them, the ending won't make much sense to you. This part of the series will be the final proof you need of the many cover-ups in baseball that have gone a long way to changing its history. This book is filled with checkable historical facts surrounding Cooperstown and Doubleday, which give reality to what is, in essence, a fictional story. It's a quick-paced story with plenty of action, and you'll meet old characters and new ones, all likable and realistic people, and you'll accompany them as they grow and develop throughout the book. Fiction it may be, but this story will teach you a lot about baseball, theosophy, and history, and the entire trilogy is pulled together at the end. If you like baseball and history, read this trilogy.

Keith Mbuya

Over the years, baseball, which had become the national pastime in the United States, had slowly lost its place among Americans. While this not only worried the Commissioner of Baseball, it also had him working on a plan to bring back the game’s glory. His approach? Dredge up, or perhaps invent, an evil conspiracy involving Albert Spalding and others to name Doubleday as the game's inventor for their own purposes, then disown the conspiracy to enhance his own position. Why does the Commissioner believe this can help bring back baseball’s glory? On the other hand, Mr. Mannington (a tycoon) is on a quest to seek answers for his project which has a lot to do with theosophy and which he is convinced will change the world. However, his team’s research leads him to (the long-dead) Abner Doubleday. What exactly does Doubleday have to do with Mannington’s work? Grab a copy of J. B. Manheim’s Doubleday Doubletake to know more.

J. B. Manheim once again got me hooked on his book, flipping through page after page. He loads his sentences with sophisticated vocabulary. He hatches an intriguing plot that features spell-binding cliffhangers and exciting characters. His narration maintains a tone of mystery, suspense, and adventure. All these kept me on edge, longing for more. J. B. Manheim’s ingenious twists in his plot exhibit his ability of narration as well as imagination. While switching between more than one story, he maintains the flow of the storyline, moving back and forth through the past and the present. He impressively depicts his scenes, making them vivid and full of color. I loved how this served to feed my imagination. J. B. Manheim’s choice of words gave his scenes the perfect setting for their designated time frames and made them relatable. The characters are wonderfully developed. Doubleday Doubletake fills in the missing pieces of the big puzzles in the preceding installments. It is the third installment of the Cooperstown trilogy and is also a stand-alone read. Lovers of slow-paced mystery and sports novels will love Doubleday Doubletake.