A sportswriter with a gambling problem tries to help a
trainer escape indictment for steroid abuse. Like his Owen Allison
series (Stonewall Jackson’s Elbow, 2006, etc.O), Billheimer’s new franchise emphasizes local color in small-town America…
–Kirkus Reviews See entire review
Billheimer delves into baseball’s steroid
controversy in this diverting novel introducing sportswriter Lloyd
Keaton of the Menckenburg (Ohio) Herald. Cheating, juicing, betting,
and brutal collection techniques keep Keaton jumping while Billheimer
nicely captures the inherent problems in dealing with PEDs (performance
–Publishers Weekly Review See entire review
John Billheimer’s Field of Schemes is an
inside-the-park home run, and the only reason I don’t call it an
out-of-the-park home run is that it would be an insult to call this new
series anything but the most exciting play in crime fiction.
–Craig Johnson, NY Times bestselling author of the Walt Longmire Mysteries
To think of Field of Schemes simply as a baseball
book vastly underrates the rich seams of observation and plot. Seeded
with humor and peppered with wisdom, John Billheimer expertly mixes
fresh takes on drugs in sport, game rigging, gambling addiction and the
affection of a father for his son. There’s baseball, yes, and his touch
with the game is sure, but readers whose interest in the national
pastime is slight will still have plenty to savor and enjoy.
–Michael Z. Lewin, award-winning author of the Albert Samson series
Field of Schemes is a performance-enhancing read. Billheimer comes through in the clutch again.
–Reed Farrel Coleman, three-time Shamus Award-winning author of Gun Church
Finally, a book you CAN judge by its cover. Or, at least, the clever title and imaginative artwork. John Billheimer has always written about offbeat heroes, and Lloyd Keaton is another great one: small-town sportswriter, lover of baseball, and recovering gambling addict. Mix in allegations of steroid use on the AAA team he covers, and Field of Schemes will warm the heart of any reader.
–Jeremiah Healy, author of the award-winning John Cuddy series
As a jock there’s nothing I like better than a book that exposes the dark side of pro sports. John Billheimer knows baseball up, down, and sideways, and writes about the people involved and the pressures they’re under with a sure hand. A sweet, smooth, satisfying read.
— SJ Rozan, Edgar-winning author of Ghost Hero
Huntington-born mystery writer John Billheimer, who now makes his home in California, is packing his bags for a trip home to his native West Virginia. When he arrives, he’s going to find himself mighty busy. See entire review
–James E. Casto-for the Herald-Dispatch
When a baseball trainer is asked by his players for steroids, he mixes up an innocent placebo of cold-cream, sunscreen, and lemon juice. But when the team’s top hitter tests positive for steroids, and later dies of an overdose, the trainer faces humiliation, shame and criminal charges. The novel’s hero is Lloyd Keaton, a third-generation sportswriter (his grandfather broke the Black Sox Scandal in 1919) with a gambling problem. When Keaton tries to clear the trainer’s name, he finds himself opposed on one side by mobsters, and on the other by a U.S. Senator with a McCarthyesque zeal to root out steroid abuse, no matter whom he hurts along the way. Personal subplots are often annexed to stories like a third arm. But in Field of Schemes, the multiple subplots involving race, family, and addiction are seamlessly interwoven throughout the book, running parallel to, while enhancing, the central plot. With strong dialogue, rich characters, and passionate storytelling, Billheimer hits this thoroughly engaging story out of the ballpark.
–Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine