Payback Time by Carl Deuker is a riveting story about Mitch True, aspiring journalist. He wants to become an editor for his school newspaper, but instead he is assigned to be sports columnist. He works with his friend Kimi, a photographer, and together, they try to unveil a scandal about the school football team and one of its players, the mysterious Angel Marichal. Mitch also struggles with his weight, and the story includes some about the personal challenges he faces with this issue. Deuker knows how to keep a reader in suspense, and there isn’t a single down page in the entire book. A roller-coaster ride of a story, Mitch and Kimi become detectives, investigating everywhere including their school, Marichal’s house, and sleazy parts of the neighborhood. They piece together the clues into a tale that will keep the reader guessing until the end. It is also interesting because the author has a substantial quantity of the story about the actual football team to try to win a championship, but seen through Mitch’s eyes. Deuker masterfully wove multiple plots into one unforgettable story.
Payback Time is an enjoyable book for anyone who enjoys journalism, mysteries, sports, or a good read in general. I could not fit this story into one genre, because there is a hefty chunk of both mystery and sports in there. I would highly recommend this to anyone of appropriate age (I would say 12 and up), and I am looking forward to reading more books by this author. On a side note, there is some inappropriate language, and some sequences of gang violence and use of weapons, so it should be read at the reader’s discretion. Overall, Payback Time was a fantastic sports/mystery/action book, and I would recommend it to anybody that meets the recommended age.