A Life Intercepted by Charles Martin
Center Street, 2014 316 pages
Twelve years ago, football player Matthew Rising was at the peak of his game. He was happily married to his high school sweetheart, Audrey. His college career ended with three championship rings, two Heisman trophies and the number one spot in the NFL draft.
The night of the draft, everything changed in an instant. Matthew stood accused of crimes he had no memory of committing during a day that he had no memory of living. Even the people that knew him best were not certain of Matthew’s innocence, despite Rising’s vehement denial of guilt.
Convicted by seemingly irrefutable evidence, and with the court of public opinion turned viciously against him, Rising lost it all.
Twelve years later, Matthew walks out of prison having served his sentence and with just one goal – to find Audrey. She disappeared from the public eye, and from Matthew’s life, following his trial.
Heartbroken, Audrey Rising sought refuge with the nuns at St. Bernard’s School. St. Bernard’s provided Audrey the privacy and anonymity she so desperately needed. St. Bernard’s was also place where she first met Matthew. St. Bernard’s football field was the launch pad for Matthew’s football career.
Dee Rogers is a senior at St. Bernard’s with no family of his own. As her affection for the boy grows, Audrey sees in Dee the same raw material that made Matthew a great quarterback. Under Audrey’s tutelage, Dee begins to shine on Friday nights.
Dee’s future looks bright until St. Bernard’s jealous football coach gets into his head and throws a monkey wrench into his game. Audrey is certain that the only person who can undo the damage is the one man she absolutely cannot trust.
Matthew knows that working with Dee is a blatant parole violation– one that will end with his re-incarceration. It is also his only shot at redemption in the eyes of the woman he loves, and he is willing to risk it all for Audrey.
Charles Martin has penned a gripping story of one man’s road to redemption. Matthew Rising is almost too good to be true – his perspective on life and football comes from a deep well of wisdom and forgiveness that stretches credulity given what he has been through. Yet he is likeable.
One of Martin’s strengths as a writer is his ability to develop believable relationships between his characters. There is no sugar-coated reunion for Audrey and Matthew – they have to work through the mistrust and pain to find a new beginning.
Martin’s love of football is evident on every page. His characters talk about the game in terms of what can be achieved when the team works together, rather than the glory of one standout player. His detailed descriptions of plays and strategies mirror the convoluted web of events that led to Matthew’s fall from grace.
I have been a fan of Martin’s books since a friend insisted that I read The Dead Don’t Dance several years ago. He has a knack for writing those books that linger in my thoughts long after I’ve read the last page. A Life Intercepted is another good read by one of my favorites!
Heather Holley-Hall is the Head of Branch Services at Alamance County Public Libraries. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.