Sometimes the simple play works best.
“A Life Intercepted” by Charles Martin seems to follow that method. Telling the story of Matthew “The Rocket” Rising — the No. 1 pick in the NFL draft with a stellar football resume built in both high school and college — Martin crafts a wonderfully simplistic tale that offers insight into what to do when the world moves on from you.
When Rising, a top football prospect who is ready to tear up the NFL, is falsely accused of, among other things, sexually assaulting a minor, he’s convicted and sent to prison. But upon his return to the real world, he decides to work out with a teenage football prospect despite part of his probation requiring him to stay away from minors. He also decides to try to win over the heart of his high school love, who has since lost faith in Rising.
Rising’s tale is a wild ride as the present narrative is broken by snippets of his past. Throughout the book, which will be released next month, Rising is never an unreliable or untrustworthy narrator. And once information is presented about his court case, in which he was falsely convicted, the sympathy already felt for the quarterback is heightened to a new level. Rising has a humble attitude, especially as he risks everything to help the young high school football prodigy.
Martin also does a great job of not letting Rising off the hook in the story. Many of the characters, even those who have remained somewhat faithful to the quarterback, never fully embrace him or show him trust. Much like in life, people remain skeptical of the athlete-turned-inmate. This makes it all the more satisfying as characters begin to loosen up and believe in the quarterback again.
The ending is simple yet right. Everything fits perfectly with the buildup and just makes sense. The climactic last few chapters set up an emotional finale that pays off, leaving a pleasing and satisfying ending.
There are a few parts where mild sexual situations are briefly mentioned, allusions to swearing and some sports violence.
The values and lessons learned from Rising’s journey are worthy for any reader.