BASN Book Reviews: The Racket

By Tony McClean, BASN Editor In Chief
Updated: December 7, 2009

NEW HAVEN, Ct. (BASN) — During his time here at BASN, Richard Kent has written and covered several events for us. Primarily, he’s lent his expertise over the years to the coverage of college basketball and professional tennis.

So it should come to no surprise that his latest book — aptly entitled “The Racket” — is a novel that offers an interesting insight into both of these high profile sports.

Kent tells the story of Darrell Howard, an African-American teenager from Hartford, Connecticut who is introduced to the game of tennis and improbably develops into a star.

What makes this story even more engrossing is how Kent fits in many references to real personalities and events from both the tennis and basketball world to tell this story.

For example, Howard is a local basketball star from the capital city of Connecticut. He becomes hooked on the game when he meets James Blake at the Pilot Pen tennis tournament in nearby New Haven.

These kind of sports and local references are throughout the novel and it truly adds to the heart and depth of the story.

Kent also uses his background as a lawyer to take readers through one of the key elements of this novel. Howard eventually earns a tennis scholarship and then turns pro.

It’s there where the story takes a dramatic turn.

Howard’s beloved uncle Hump gets him tangled up in a gambling scandal that threatens his nephew’s reputation, career and freedom. Without bogging the reader with a lot legal mumbo jumbo, Kent is able to guide readers through all the legal issues.

What I particularly liked about Kent’s novel was a real level of humanity in his writing. You can readily see the detailed research that was involved in the writing of this book.

And again, Kent’s background as a reporter and lawyer comes shining through without talking down to the reader.

“The Racket” is an very eye opening novel that’s a great read for any kind of sports fan.