Verdict: In THIS WAS NEVER ABOUT BASKETBALL, author Craig Leener marvelously marries his knowledge of basketball with his interest in science fiction to create a fun, fascinating read with page-turning action, unexpected plot twists and laugh out loud humor.
Zeke Archer has problems. Because he lost his temper at the city championship game, he is not only expelled from school, he has lost his basketball scholarship to the University of Kansas. Now the autistic kid at Ernest T. McDerney Continuation School informs him that his bad behavior is the catalyst for the demise of basketball.
The only thing making Zeke Archer’s forced attendance at continuation school, or purgatory as it is commonly known, bearable is Curtis Short and Stretch Puckett, his best friends and teammates. All three have been placed in the school for fighting at the city championship game. Now, they have one last chance to play the game they love, but strange things start happening to threaten their participation in an upcoming tournament. At first Zeke assumes these things are just coincidences, but as weird incidents increase, he must face the fact that there may be forces at work – perhaps unearthly forces – that he doesn’t understand. When the unexplainable events are coupled with notes from the school’s brilliant autistic student, Lawrence, stating that Zeke is the reason for the unusual happenings, Zeke must make a decision. Can Lawrence be right? Could Zeke’s anger have caused a cosmic rip allowing something called the 7th Dimension to end basketball on earth?
Zeke must face this possibility alone. His brother, Wade, is deployed to Afghanistan. His mother works the night shift, so he doesn’t see her often. He hasn’t seen his father in five years. And even if these things weren’t true, Lawrence warns him it would be dangerous to tell anyone of the 7th Dimension and its threat to basketball. As the day Lawrence predicts will mark the end of basketball draws near, Zeke feels he must act. What can he do but try to intercede? Basketball is his life. He must try to save it. Zeke’s wild ride from Los Angeles to Kansas is full of unexpected twists and turns, and the reader feels every one of them, sharing Zeke’s excitement, anxiety and fear in his race against time to alter fate.
Craig Leener deftly intertwines the history of basketball with supernatural adventure. Using the 7th Dimension as the paranormal Entity is brilliant as it gives the astute reader many rabbit holes to explore if so inclined. If not, it is still a great read with page-turning action, unexpected plot twists and laugh out loud humor.
~Kat Kennedy for Indie Reader