By: Greg Messel
Published: April 23, 2012
This is a featured guest review by my husband, Pat. After seeing the book in my stash, he thought the book sounded interesting and so I offered the review to him.  
Mystery, romance and baseball in 1957 San Francisco.  Sam Slater is a lifetime minor league
baseball player for the San Francisco Seals. 
The Seals have just one more season left as San Francisco is about to
become a major league city.  Sam has come
to the end of his baseball career and is going to join the private detective
agency of his best friend.  When Sam’s partner
inadvertently sees something he shouldn’t have, he is brutally murdered.  Sam must go it alone to find out why.  Along the way he is swept off of his feet by
a beautiful, Elvis-obsessed, TWA stewardess named Amelia Ryan.  Sam and Amelia try to unravel the mystery
together.  On dark and foggy San
Francisco nights, trouble is lurking just around the next corner. 
When my wife asked me if I’d
be interested in reading and reviewing this book, it didn’t take much for me to
say ‘yes’ – even though I’m not usually much of a reader of fiction books. 
Last of the Seals tells the
story of Sam Slater, who is finishing his last days as a veteran minor league
pitcher in 1957 for the San Francisco Seals – a team beloved by the city – but
is being scuttled to make way for the Major League’s Giants, who are moving in
from New York next season.
Sam is forced to begin his
detective work early when his best friend, and future partner is killed
delivering incriminating photos to a client. 
During this time, Sam meets (and courts) the beautiful Amelia, a
stewardess who welcomes Sam’s advances. 
These two – separated only by Amelia’s weekly flight schedule – together
begin to search for the killer.  Along
the way, they are both put in dangerous situations and they’re led to solve another
murder where their efforts put them on a trail that even the police couldn’t

One of the author’s best
qualities is the way he weaves historical facts with his own fictional
accounts.  His time growing up in the San
Francisco area also gives him the opportunity to share with the reader a great
deal of local history, local geography and a sense for the unusual weather that
is unique to the area.  In this regard,
he doesn’t disappoint. 
The book is an easy read with
fairly short chapters, which makes it easy to pick up and read – even for a just
few pages at a time. 
One of the strengths of the
book is the relatively few main characters, and the author does a great job of
giving the reader a great idea who Sam Slater really is – from his time in
WWII, up to the present time in 1957.  He
also gives you a glimpse of life in 1957. 
Most notable to me was the glamorous  life of the stewardess (and the high physical
standards required to make the cut for the job), and the prevalence of smoking – even among
the athletes. 
Where I think the author let
me down was that I didn’t get to see the relationship of Sam and Amelia fully
develop.  Perhaps this is coming later in
the trilogy, but the passion these two had for each other created an interest
to see when they would finally succumb to their strong desires, or maybe this was of a more subtle example of life in the 1950s.  Another situation that wasn’t fully explored
was the strange behavior of Mrs. Ted Steele toward Amelia.  Either way, these questions certainly make me
want to read Deadly Plunge, due out in 2013 to hopefully find some
Greg Messel
photo courtesy of http://
Greg Messell has spent most of his life living in the Pacific Northwest.  He has been married to Carol for over 40 years and has 3 children and 10 grandchildren.  Greg has always loved writing and spent many years working in the newspaper business.  LAST OF THE SEALS is his fourth novel and the first of a mystery trilogy set in San Francisco in the 1950’s.  The second installment of the trilogy and his fifth novel is DEADLY PLUNGE and will be published in 2013.  For more on Greg Messel and his other books, check out
Thanks to Pump Up Your Book for sending a copy of this book for review.  Neither my husband or I were compensated in any other way for this review.  This review is my husband’s honest opinion.
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  1. Admin on August 21, 2012 at 1:27 am

    Wow Stacie, your husband is a natural born reviewer! I'd get him to review my books anytime, lol. Tell him how much we appreciate the review and it was wonderful!

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