The Mob figures fixing the NCAA Final Four should be as easy as pushing a pimp off a bridge. But they haven’t figured on an unknown point-guard from a nowhere Kentucky town—Mike Kramer, a poor country boy with a great heart and everything to prove. The World Broadcasting Company (WBC), holder of broadcast rights for the NCAA Final Four, is in big ratings trouble, and its head honchos know it. With Austin Peay and other Cinderella teams clogging recent tournaments, sportswriters are starting to call it “The Final Bore.” Desperate to hold onto their fat paychecks and their pride, WBC’s execs see just one solution: maneuvering the four teams with the largest followings into the Final Four. How to do it? Hire a Mob contact to put in The Fix.
No longer a world superpower, Russia can’t wait generations to regain past glory, and officials arrive at the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Olympics determined to steal the human cloning secret discovered by an old scientest in Park City, Utah.
The powers of the secret are simple– to clone the greatest world leaders, and eliminate God from the equation. But everyone underestimates the grit of biathlete Dee Dee Daniels. Out to prove she wasn’t a washout in Nagano in 1998, the fiesty University of Utah student is out to prove she isn’t just lucky she makes the Olympic Biathon Team when drugs turn up in a urine sample of another. Seeking gold and redemption, Daniels teams with the alcoholic scientist who discovered the cloning secret, a former gold medal winner himself.
He looked into the heavens, rain streaming down his cheeks as if tears. “Why, Lord?”
And then a cold, chilling stare formed on his face. Ace Cleveland didn’t care anymore.
The entire sporting world is turned upside down. Everyone, including writers, broadcasters, coaches, athletic directors—even parents—are ignoring the fact that steroids are being used in college athletics.
And killing people.
No more. Someone, something, had killed his younger brother, the kid who used to tag along with him when he delivered papers. And, by God, someone was going to be held accountable not only for his brother’s death, but for all the other players who had died over the years. For the medical records that had been destroyed, for what happened to perfect physical specimens like 21-year old Jose Zoellers who now moved like an old man and looked worse.
And for the pitiful way Ace’s grieving mother wandered around her drafty old house, wondering how the University men who’d promised to care for her son and give him an education could instead just send him home in a coffin.
Ace Cleveland was hurting too, but was far beyond caring about himself. Too many dominoes had fallen. What did it matter that they’d shot his dog, torched his house, had his livelihood threatened by an F.B.I. agent. When his wife left him with their infant son that last straw had ignited a wildfire inside him.
Every university president in America had some explaining to do, but Ace no longer cared about the big picture. There were so many dirty secrets at State U., finding what killed his little brother would be like looking for a needle in a haystack. So be it. Danny Cleveland’s death had awakened the devil, opened the gates of hell—and in Ace’s hands a pitchfork glistened.