Newsroom Eyes
Ben Barklee
Created byG.W. Kennedy

When the going gets tough, the tough quote Dickens?

BEN BARKLEE has traded in his glory days as a pitcher for the Chicago Cubs for the peaceful life of a mild-mannered English professor at Ridgehaven College on Chicago's wealthy North Shore, and life is good. But then, all he seems to want is a little Dickens and the love of a good woman, namely his wife Dorothy.

But then Jane Macalester, the spoiled wild child daughter of a powerful Senator is kidnapped, and Ben rescues her, becoming a reluctant hero, much to the chagrin not just of himself but of the College, who promptly fire him.

Suddenly unemployed, Ben sets himself up as a "Confidential Consultant." And then Jane is kidnapped again.

Those expecting Ben to go stomping after the kidnappers like Mike Hammer swapping lead and breaking heads, might want to give this one a skip -- Ben doesn't even carry a gun. But for those who get a kick out of solid writing, some good character development, and a wry, literate hero with the gift of gab who succeeds in spite of himself should check out Curveball (2012), the first in a proposed series.

Joe returned with Last Man Out (1993), a prequel that finds Joe just months back from the war, already caught between the crime and the sports pages when

Born in Elmhurst, IL, G.W. Kennedy received a BA with honors in English from Rice University in Houston and attended the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia for a year on a Woodrow Wilson Fellowship, receiving an MA . He completed his PhD in English at SUNY/Buffalo in the 1970s, writing a dissertation on Dickens' novels, and was an English professor at the Chicago campus of the University of Illinois from 1972 to 1978, when he left academia to pursue a career in business writing and corporate communications. No word on a possible big league career with the Cubs...

a wealthy socialite and her Spanish maid are murdered and the prime suspect is an up-and-coming rookie for the Brooklyn Dodgers. But the baseball connection in this one is strained -- only the suspect's occupation ties it in with baseball at all, although it gives Honig a nice reason to have Joe ta

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Report respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith.


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"...and I'll tell you right out that I'm a man who likes talking to a man that likes to talk."