"HUNTING A DETROIT TIGER: A Mickey Rawlings Baseball Mystery" combines both the beauty and drama of Major League Baseball with the tensions, perils, and excitement of a well-crafted and engaging mystery novel. Besides, as a lifelong Detroit Tigers fan, I took one look at this novel and knew I had to have it.
The book begins in Detroit during the spring of 1920. Mickey Rawlings, a journeyman baseball player and World War I veteran, has been hired by the Tigers. He's anxious to prove his worth to them by earning a place in the lineup. What he doesn't count on is being implicated at a meeting he was asked to attend of the local chapter of the International Workers of the World (IWW) in the murder of a former ballplayer (Emmett Siever) who was trying to start up a players' union. The story is that Rawlings had a meeting with Siever, an altercation ensued between the 2 men, and consequently, Sievers was shot to death by Rawlings in an act of self-defense. Thus, Sievers' death is seen by the Detroit police as an open-and-shut case.
But Rawlings is not happy with being regarded as an accused killer He wants to clear his name and sets about trying to do that. All the while, Rawlings' life is put in jeopardy because local IWW members are aggrieved over Sievers' murder and a number of them are determined to get back at him. Furthermore, at the same time, as the season gets underway and Rawlings is nursing an injured right wrist by batting left after getting cleared by the team doctor to play, the baseball owners are putting pressure of him to speak out against a players' union for major league ballplayers. This leads to Rawlings (who'd rather remain apart from politics and the union movement and solely concentrate on playing baseball) being caught being 2 very unsavory extremes.
Soos does an excellent job in bringing all these various elements together into a novel that I didn't want to put down. It was also fascinating to learn something about the anti-Bolshevik atmosphere that permeated U.S. society in the immediate post-World War I era -- and the strong-armed, illegal, and unconstitutional practices U.S. law enforcement agencies engaged in as a way of clamping down on both left wing organizations and the union movement as represented by the IWW (aka 'the Wobblies'). There's never a dull moment in this novel. Which is why I highly recommend it.