The death of Lake Williams, a former football player at Central Montana State, in his squalid tent in a homeless camp looks to Seagate and Miner like a routine heroin overdose. Soon, however, they discover that someone hired a courier to deliver the uncut heroin, knowing that Lake would shoot up and die instantly. When a second body turns up, and then a third, the evidence points to the head coach and the other leaders of the football program, who appear to be covering up a secret that would destroy the program. When a man comes forward, claiming to have committed numerous felonies on behalf of the program over many years, the detectives don’t know whether he is the killer or merely a decoy in an elaborate misdirection play. In a heart-pounding final confrontation, Seagate and Miner confront the killer—and realize they have walked right into the trap.
Al Kunz, the leading reviewer of indie books, published this 5-star review of Players on October 21, 2016:
“Our partnership works because of our opposite styles. Ryan is calm, rational, and thoughtful. I’m … not.”
The character Karen Seagate may have more than her share of imperfections, but lack of self-awareness isn’t one of them. In that quote she gets to the heart of why her fictional partnership with Ryan Miner makes for such good stories, too. This is the seventh book of the series and as I’ve reviewed each I’ve raved about the characters of Seagate and Miner as well as the story. Consider this another rave.
The fictional town of Rawlings, Montana where all the books take place is another piece of Markel’s solid foundation for the series. Many of the stories involve happenings at the university in Rawlings and in this installment that is especially true. Along with the story of Seagate and Miner investigating a murder you might also find yourself considering college sports and the price athletes sometimes pay to participate.
Here are a few more reviews from Amazon readers:
“This author has become a master at his craft! As a reader of the previous six Seagate and Miner books, I have become a huge fan of this series and the author’s writing style. After reading and enjoying each book, I always wonder how Mike Markel is going to write another book that will be even comparable to the one I just finished. His talent and writing skills allow him to do just that, and Players is no exception. Players deals with a very timely subject matter and there are some very intense, fast paced scenes with surprising outcomes. They are handled well because of the author’s obvious excellent resources. Seagate and Miner are very different personalities who, over the now seven book series, have learned to read and complement each other and work together almost seamlessly. It’s an enviable relationship with sometimes laugh out loud humor in their dialogue that lightens the serious crime solving. The recurring minor characters are colorful and the reader looks forward to their appearances. Players can certainly be read as a stand-alone; however, I strongly recommend being good to yourself by reading all of the previous books, preferably in the order written. You will then learn Seagate and Miner’s backgrounds, experience what makes them tick and become so likable. In addition, the editing and proofreading of Players is impressive. My only issue with this series is having to wait for the next book.”
“I am one of those people that reads a series from start to finish and doesn’t like to start in the middle! That being said, I couldn’t be fair to the author if I waited to review this one after reading all the other books so I jumped right in. I’m glad I did because now I have found another favorite author! Mike Markel makes the characters come to life and makes you have to know what comes next, you just don’t want to put the book down until you’ve finished it. His characters are well developed, true-to-life people, just like people we all come in contact with. He makes the story believable and keeps you guessing as to who the guilty party is. I love the dynamic between Seagate and Miner; they complement each other well and pull you in to their investigation with them. I enjoyed this book so much that I have gone back and read the first book of the series and am now on the second book. I will be buying the rest of them so I can read them all!”
“Players reads just as complex as any diagrammed football play. You’ll love it. This is my first Detectives Seagate and Miner novel, but it won’t be my last. I was hooked from the beginning and read it in a day because I just had to find out what happened next. I expected twists and turns from Mike Markel, but he kept me guessing until the end. I enjoyed the strong but damaged Karen Seagate. I loved the way she and Ryan Miner played off each other as good partners should. The procedural and forensic details were all there. You always knew what the detectives knew and I love a mystery writer who plays fair with his readers. I intend to go back and start the series from the beginning, and reread this one when I get to it. It was just that good.”
“The seventh installment of detectives Karen Seagate and Ryan Minor is another touchdown (ok, so this book involves college football, no more puns). The chemistry between Seagate and Minor is what I love best about this series. They are partners, care about each other, yet they are so different from each other. They are close enough that they know what the other is thinking, and their conversations flow with the familiarity (and humor) of those who know each other well. The mystery is always good and keeps me guessing. I hope there is an eighth book. I highly recommend this series but do think you should start at book one. Although the books are stand alone, you will miss the back stories of the detectives, especially Karen Seagate.”