Excerpt from Red Zone by Mike Lupica, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reviews |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

Red Zone

By Mike Lupica

Red Zone
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • Hardcover: Oct 2003,
    352 pages.
    Paperback: Oct 2004,
    368 pages.

    Publication Information

  • Rate this book


Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt


"I just don't want this to be one of those gross deals down the road where I look like I'm the one kissing Clint Eastwood in the movies," she said.

I thanked her, as always, for her refreshing honesty and told her to pass the Viagra.

We went from Paris to Lake Como, one of your romance capitals of Italy. We went to Spain, and I got drunk enough to lose a bet to a bartender, which is how I ended up running with both the schmucks and the bulls at Pamplona. We did a month at the Hotel du Cap in the south of France that ended up costing me more than the second war against Saddam. Finally, we settled into a flat in London that I had borrowed from one of Billy Grace's Hollywood friends, a screenwriter who got a couple of million per movie and half that for what Hollywood called "polishes," which the screenwriter said involved cleaning up the punctuation on the polish that came right before yours, and punching the whole thing up with jokes even studio executives could understand.

"The original screenplays and adaptations support Heather and the children and the therapists and trainers and yoga teachers and plastic surgeons," the screenwriter told me one night at Billy's casino, Amazing Grace. "The polishes are for gambling and the girls from the escort service."

Annie and I spent two months at the place at Lennox Gardens, hard by Beauchamp Place and a five-minute walk from Harrod's. We ate at all the best restaurants, and occasionally made short trips to Scotland when Annie would get it into her head that she needed another Mary, Queen of Scots fix. I was a good sport about all of it. I had never done any real time in Europe, I was flush for the first time in my life, and, best of all, I wasn't required to be anywhere. I certainly wasn't on the kind of twenty-four-hour call Billy used to tie me to in the old days, back when I was his casino host and go-to guy, known as the Jammer, in charge of making sure our high rollers felt more love than the rest of the Strip's high rollers.

If what they were experiencing during their stay at Amazing Grace was anything close to real love, I was supposed to make sure they sure as shit didn't get caught at it.

And this almost-wedded bliss might have lasted until the end of Annie's Fox contract, if Bubba Royal hadn't shown up for a visit.

He was still in a walking cast, having busted his knee on the last play of the Super Bowl against the Bangers, after throwing the crucial block on Bobby Camby's sweep around left end. It was a daring call by Bubba, my old UCLA teammate, since by the time Camby finally got to the end zone, time had expired, officially wiping out any chance for the short field goal by our kicker, Benito Siragusa, that would have won the game a lot more easily than Camby's play.

Of course, a field goal would not have enabled the Hawks to cover the point spread, and thus win the bet Bubba had made on himself through the sports book at Amazing Grace the night before the game.

Afterward, there were some questions about why Bubba had risked everything at the end of the game, but even the NFL commissioner, Wick Sanderson, stood up and dismissed them, praising Bubba's ability to make game-winning decisions on the fly, and what he actually called Bubba's "gambling spirit."

Wick still wanted to believe that everybody in America bet NFL games, except NFL players.

"Right," Bubba liked to say. "And those are everybody's real tits in the movies."

I fronted him the money for the bet, by the way.

In addition to the walking cast, Bubba also showed up wearing a flight attendant named Brittany with whom he'd fallen in love on the overnight Virgin Atlantic from Kennedy.

"Just for the record, Jack," he said. "The virgin part? It don't mean her."

I told him I had sort of figured that out on my own.

This was after he and Brittany had spent most of the day in Bubba's suite at The Dorchester, and finally came downstairs about six o'clock to meet Annie and me in the bar.

From Red Zone by Mike Lupica. Copyright Mike Lupica 2003. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced without written permission from the publisher, Putnam Publishing.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!
Member Benefits

Join Now!

Check the advantages!
Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year

    •  
    • FREE
    • MEMBER
    • Range of media reviews for each book
    • Excerpts of all featured books
    • Author bios, interviews and pronunciations
    • Browse by genre
    • Book club discussions
    • Book club advice and reading guides
    • BookBrowse reviews and "beyond the book" back-stories
    •  
    • Reviews of notable books ahead of publication
    •  
    • Free books to read and review (US Only)
    •  
    • Browse for the best books by time period, setting & theme
    •  
    • Read-alike suggestions for thousands of books and authors
    •  
    • 'My Reading List" to keep track of your books
    •  
Sign up, win books!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket
    The Valley of Amazement
    by Amy Tan
    "Mirror, Mirror on the wall
    I am my mother after all!"


    In my pre-retirement days as a professor ...
  • Book Jacket: A Man Called Ove
    A Man Called Ove
    by Fredrik Backman
    Reading A Man Called Ove was like having Christmas arrive early. Set in Sweden, this debut novel is ...
  • Book Jacket
    The Search
    by Geoff Dyer
    All hail the independent publisher! In May 2014, Graywolf Press brought two of long-revered British ...

First Impressions

Members read and review books ahead
of publication. See what they think
in First Impressions!

Books that
expand your
horizons.

Visitors can view a lot of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only

Find out more.

Book Discussions
Book Jacket

The Arsonist
by Sue Miller

Published Jun. 2014

Join the discussion!

  1.  125Tomlinson Hill:
    Chris Tomlinson

All Discussions

Win this book!
Win The Angel of Losses

The Angel of Losses

"Family saga, mystery, and myth intersect in Feldman's debut novel." - Booklist

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

E C H A Silver L

and be entered to win..

Books thatinspire you.Handpicked.

Books you'll stay up all night reading; books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, books that will expand your mind and inspire you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.