Reading Matters

Webb Hubbell spins out another good yarn

Webb Hubbell, who’s been in Charlotte a few years now, is not just an author. He’s a Big Name. He’s been U.S. Associate Attorney General, Chief Justice of the Arkansas Supreme Court, mayor of Little Rock and managing partner of the second largest law firm in Arkansas, a firm that included Hillary Clinton.

But a Big Name does not always a writer make.

So it’s been with great pleasure and, I admit, a bit of a surprise, to have discovered with his first Jack Patterson thriller, that Hubbell can spin out a darned good story. His latest, another Jack Patterson thriller, is just out. I was delighted to start “A Game of Inches” and, as with his previous “Ginger Snaps,” to fall right into its intrigue.

This one is set in D.C. Billy Hopper is a beloved wide receiver for the Los Angeles Lobos, and he’s just been named Rookie of the Year. Then one morning he wakes in the Mayflower Hotel to find a steak knife on his chest and a dead woman by his side.

Sadly, Hopper has no memory of what happened in bed or at the NFL Honors banquet the night before. Everyone assumes he guilty. But not Jack Patterson, whose longtime friend has known Hopper forever and feels certain he’s innocent. Against his better instincts, Patterson agrees to defend Hopper.

In a plot bursting with danger and complication, “A Game of Inches” spirals to a surprising conclusion.

Now, a word on the food. Jack Patterson loves to eat – especially in hotel restaurants – and the novel is filled with descriptions of mouth-watering food and drink. Hot sandwiches and ribs. Steamed Maryland blue crabs, fresh corn and biscuits. Fried catfish and lemon icebox pie. A filet with creamed spinach. Crabmeat appetizer and chopped salad (at Morton’s on Connecticut Avenue). Pulled pork sandwiches, a side order of dry-rubbed ribs, baked beans, slaw and collards.

Oh, yum, and I could go on.

Webb Hubbell will read and talk about his latest novel at 7 p.m. on June 28 at Park Road Books, Park Road Shopping Center.

The event is free, and everyone is invited.