Coming January 1 from Lake Union:
A poignant story about hopes, dreams, and how far one man’s talent takes him before he realizes it’s about what you do―and how you do it. Frank Ryder is unstoppable on the baseball field―his pitches arrive faster than a batter can swing, giving his opponents no chance. He’s being heralded as a game-changing pitcher.
But within the maelstrom of press, adulation, and wild speculation, Frank is a man alone. Haunted by a tragic incident from years past, he yearns to be the best but cannot reconcile the guilt he carries with the man everyone believes him to be. Frank’s path to redemption leads him on a journey back to where his life changed forever, to visit his family, his high school coach, and his brother. Through reconnection and reconciliation with
those also deeply affected by the devastating
event of Frank’s youth, he finds peace and his
place in the world both in and outside the game.
The Fireballer is a lyrical, moving story of
undeniable talent and the life-changing power of forgiveness and a subtly romantic ode to America's favorite pastime.
"Fleet and fun, The Fireballer will appeal to fans of The Natural and Robert Coover’s The Universal Baseball Association. Frank Ryder is a classic American hero—the phenom who has to overcome his own terrible past. Mark Stevens has done the impossible: He actually had me rooting for the Orioles."
— Stewart O’Nan, co-author of Faithful and author of Ocean State
“Seldom do I read a book that knocks my socks off the way the The Fireballer did. This is a feel-good baseball story with a hold on the vernacular, the heart, the soul, the big picture, and the subtleties of America’s favorite summer pastime. The characters are beautifully etched, and pitcher Frank Ryder may be the most likeable hero since Gary Cooper gave life to Lou Gehrig on the big screen. I guarantee that you don’t have to be a baseball fan to be swept up by this moving tale. With a full heart, I recommend—no, insist—that you read The Fireballer.”
— William Kent Krueger, author of Fox Creek and This Tender Land
“The Fireballer is not just a great baseball yarn that any fan of the game will enjoy – it is also a richly-layered exploration of character, regret, and redemption.”
— Lou Berney, author of November Road and The Long and Faraway Gone
"Mark Stevens’ The Fireballer is a timeless baseball story told with a love of the game and fast-moving prose that will leave your cheering and crying at the same time. Frank Ryder is the most appealing of heroes, taciturn and loyal, talented, and haunted - truly haunted - and with a fastball that will change the game. With its authentic baseball scenes and its rich heart, The Fireballer is a novel that rests comfortably with other classics of the game."
— William Lashner, author of Freedom Road and The Barkeep
"The old game of baseball keeps coming up with new stories about the next twist or turn in the sport. In The Fireballer, Mark Stevens has invented a startling 'What if?' that stretches the limits of the game. More than a baseball book, the novel is a journey through the mind and heart of a gifted, but tragic, athlete who finds a road to redemption."
— New York Times bestselling author Stephen Singular