Hard Knocks (Practice Perfect)


Neurologist Helen Frobisher dislikes hockey with a passion for the injuries it causes players. She would like to say the same about Adam Magnus. Attractive as he is, she thinks it would never work between them and tells him as much. An enforcer for the Oregon Wolves, he is part of the low-ranking NHL team. Its billionaire owner polarizes Portland Oregon, because he wants a new arena built. Helen’s reaction is to write an op-ed piece citing medical reasons for her objection to the arena, making them the faces of the two sides in the heated debate.


The main characters, introduced right off the bat, give the reader an idea of where things are headed. Both major and minor characters are written with a recognizable humanity. An excellent balance between narration and natural (sometimes humorous) dialogue enhances the feeling of immersion. Repetition is used for emphasis, but not overly so. Narration alternately focuses on each main character in turn. Each possesses unique character traits and background, the explanation of which unobtrusively involves the minor characters. One does not need a love of sports to enjoy this steamy, seemingly well-researched, realistic page-turner in which the backstory of the main characters is crucial as the relationship between them evolves.


“Hard Knocks” is a thoroughly enjoyable, mature reading experience for anyone who appreciates exquisitely executed character development as part of a well-rounded story.


Heather R. Nielsen