The GameKeepers

Whitewash, Blackmail, and Baseball's Darkest Secrets (The Cooperstown Trilogy)

Fiction - Sports
213 Pages
Reviewed on 05/04/2022
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

The GameKeepers serves as Book 2 of The Deadball Files.

JB Manheim is Professor Emeritus at The George Washington University, where he developed the world's first degree-granting program in political communication and was later founding director of the School of Media & Public Affairs. In 1995 he was named Professor of the Year for the District of Columbia.

He learned his love of baseball watching Dizzy Dean on the Game of the Week and huddling with his grandfather for warmth on July nights at The Mistake By The Lake, AKA, Cleveland Municipal Stadium, and renewed it when the National Pasttime finally returned to the Nation's Capital.

Manheim brings to life his expertise in propaganda and strategic communication through his fictional stories of baseball behind the scenes. His writing will lead you to question whether what you think you know about the history of the game and about the powers who control it is real, or whether it's just a carefully nurtured product of lies, deceptions, misdirections, and propaganda.

JB Manheim is a member of the Society for American Baseball Research, the Internet Baseball Writers Association of America, and the International Thriller Writers.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Frances Deborah Kerr-Phillips for Readers' Favorite

The Gamekeepers by J B Manheim is a cracker of a story. The Gamekeepers are the self-appointed protectors of baseball, a self-perpetuating group of three who developed an ingenious plan back in the 1930s to protect the game from behind the scenes. Fast forward to the here and now, where Liz Fairchild, the current owner of a longstanding landscaping firm, A. Holt Greenstick Company, tracks down Adam Wallace who recently authored a book based on the incredible findings in an old suitcase on the farm of his friend, Jason Drumm. She hopes that Adam will help her make sense of the code names, logbook, set of oversized keys, and the mysterious message she found hidden in her late father’s desk. Manheim has the reader enthralled from the get-go.

The second book in the Cooperstown Trilogy, Manheim’s The Gamekeepers is just as gripping as the first book, This Never Happened. I particularly enjoyed how Manheim, like the craftsman of a Persian rug, literally weaves the different strands of the story together to create the final masterpiece. The very currency of the novel, with the later chapters being set in 2022, lends an immediacy and reality to the novel. The budding romance between Liz and Adam is convincing, creating light-hearted touches amidst the tension of the plot. The Gamekeepers keeps the reader intrigued and in a state of anticipation throughout what is a high-speed reading adventure. What a treat! I am already on the lookout for the final book in Manheim’s Cooperstown Trilogy!

Anne-Marie Reynolds

The GameKeepers: Whitewash, Blackmail, and Baseball's Darkest Secrets by J. B. Manheim is the second book in the Cooperstown trilogy. Who are the gamekeepers? After the Black Sox scandal shocked the baseball world, a group of baseball elders decided they needed a repository to store the secrets of The Game, a repository whose location nobody but they would know. They formed an organization that would guard the evidence, an organization whose members took an oath of silence and a solid hierarchy to ensure the secrets were kept safe forever. For nearly 100 years it worked. And then it stopped working and the whole society faced the risk of collapse. Liz Fairchild holds the key and with baseball sleuth Adam Wallace, they tear down the walls but Adam must now make a choice - which sacred oath should he break?

The GameKeepers: Whitewash, Blackmail, and Baseball's Darkest Secrets by J. B. Manheim follows on from This Never Happened, which I have also read. Many times, a series often starts really well only to fall apart from the second book onwards - this one did not, and, having enjoyed book 1, book 2 didn’t disappoint. It is packed with intrigue and mystery and, once you start, putting it down is not an option. It's not the fastest-paced book I've ever read but that doesn’t matter. It is steady, thorough, and builds in both tension and suspense with some great characters, both new ones and from the previous book. If you are a baseball fan, especially of its history, this is a great book but do read the first one in the series before you tackle this one - you probably could read it as a standalone but I wouldn’t recommend it.

Keith Mbuya

What does one want when their father dies shortly after saying, “I have something really important to talk about with you”? Answers! Liz Fairchild was no exception. The Fairchild family had thrived in the farming and landscaping business in Cooperstown for decades. Until the demise of Liz’s eldest brother and father (respectively), the business had always been passed down to the eldest son of each Fairchild generation. After taking up her father’s role, Liz stumbles into a lot of things at her father’s work premises and realizes that there could be more than just landscaping going on. Liz suspects her family has had something to do with events occurring in the baseball world. Her curiosity especially peaked after reading Adam Wallace’s latest book, which was a journal about significant events in baseball’s history. Liz is determined to get to the bottom of it all. Get yourself J. B. Manheim’s The Gamekeepers to find out how it all goes down with Liz’s quest for answers.

Enthusiasts of sports novels laced with an engrossing military tale will love The Gamekeepers. Featuring very exciting and spell-binding characters, J. B. Manheim concocts a gripping storyline with an intriguing plot. His style of writing is great. He depicts his scenes and characters with succinct sentences that give the book a professional touch. His depictions are intense and impressively picturesque, and reading the book felt like watching a well-plotted movie. He steadily switches between the present and the past, maintaining the flow of his ideas. There is action, adventure, mystery, thrills, suspense, secrets, and so much more. J. B. Manheim’s great sense of humor had me reveling in the conversations between some of his characters. I particularly found Jake Fairchild a wonderfully witty character. The characters are well developed. Liz is depicted as a strongly inquisitive, very intelligent, and daring character. The Gamekeepers is the second installment in the Cooperstown trilogy, but it is a stand-alone book. I’m on my way to getting the other installments in the series. It is a great piece of work and I loved it.