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A consumer's guide to the best and worst of sports media and merchandise. Ground rules: If it can be read, played, heard, observed, worn, viewed, dialed or downloaded, it's in play here.

June 01, 1998|EARL GUSTKEY

What: "One False Move"

Author: Harlan Coben

Publisher: Delacorte Press

Women's pro basketball, murder, crooked politicians, dirty cops, gangsters and some spectacular similes await the reader of this, Coben's fifth Myron Bolitar novel.

Bolitar is a street-smart, hot-tempered New Jersey sports agent/private eye who charges fearlessly into a murder case in which his client, women's hoops star Brenda Slaughter, is embroiled. There's even a touch a sadism here. Would you believe Achilles' tendons severed by. . . pruning shears ?

It's fast-moving, funny, horrifying and an altogether good read.

And does this sound familiar? Slaughter is the marquee player in a brand new women's pro league called the Women's Professional Basketball League.

And, yes, there is a rival league: the Professional Women's Basketball League.

And yes, Brenda Slaughter hates it when men dis her sport:

"I was the number one collegiate player three years in a row," she tells Bolitar in the early going.

"My team won two national championships. We were on ESPN all the time and during the NCAA finals we were on CBS. I went to Reston University, which is only a half hour from where you live. How many of my games did you see?"

"None," Bolitar tells her.

"Right," she says, "chicks' basketball. It's not worth the time."

Also, Coben nearly creates a new sport in simile-building:

"a burger so rare it screamed ouch."

"He had a mustache so thick it made Teddy Roosevelt's look like a limp eyelash."

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