There’s never been a sports novel like this one. The basketball action is so raw and visceral, you’ll feel like you’re on the court yourself.

A lost, previously unpublished novel from the late Ralph Dennis, author of the legendary Hardman series of crime novels. Now he takes a gritty, hard-boiled “police procedural” approach to 1980s college basketball, tracking a struggling, but ambitious team through a tumultuous season, approaching each game like a decisive battle in a bloody war.

Timothy McCarren is the tough, hard-charging new sports director at a small North Carolina university. To him, the basketball court is a battlefield, the players are his soldiers, and he is their cunning General, leading them into war…and showing no mercy. He will do whatever it takes, bend any rule, and push his players to their physical and emotional limits to make them champions.

Praise for Ralph Dennis

“Exceptional characterization, strong and vigorous prose, and a glimpse into a place and time that has long since disappeared.” Mystery Scene Magazine

“Gritty writing? Tough talk? Gripping action? Yes, yes and yes.” The Daily Oklahoman

“His prose was muscular, swift and highly readable. Like Chandler and Hammett before him, Dennis was trying to do something different with what was thought of as throwaway literature.” Joe R. Lansdale

“A breathless, lean noir thriller. Every line is razor sharp.” Publishers Weekly

“Ralph Dennis has mastered the genre and supplied top entertainment.” New York Times

“Believable and constantly thrilling.” The Spy Guys & Gals Site

“It’s gritty, it’s grounded, and it’s also strong on character. The writing is a cut above.” NB Magazine UK

“An underappreciated master.” Robert J. Randisi, founder of the Private Eye Writers of America.

“Straight-up, hard-boiled crime fiction, written in a tight, evocative voice with a wicked, dark sense of humor.” Lee Goldberg, #1 New York Times bestselling author

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