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Cover-up: Mystery at the Super Bowl    by John Feinstein order for
by John Feinstein
Order:  USA  Can
Knopf, 2007 (2007)
Hardcover, CD, e-Book

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* *   Reviewed by J. A. Kaszuba Locke

Aspiring teen sports journalists Steve Thomas and Susan Carol Anderson have previously solved sports mysteries, in Last Shot and Vanishing Act. John Feinstein's latest saga catapults Stevie and Susan Carol into tackling a cover-up at the Super Bowl, NFL's biggest football gathering of the year.

The executive producer of the USTV sports network has chosen the well-known teens to host a weekly Kid-Sports talk show. Stevie broadcasts from his hometown of Philadelphia, PA, while Susan Carol harmonizes from her hometown of Goldsboro, NC. They (and their parents) were reluctant to agree to the network deal at first. As Susan Carol says, 'TV is for pretty people who read from a teleprompter.' However, the positive outweighs the negatives as Stevie and Susan Carol factor in their earnings and the cost of a college education.

Sleuths Stevie and Susan Carol end up at the Super Bowl, covering it for two media establishments, and tumble into the investigation of a rumor of a cover-up in the use of human growth hormone by some team members. The California Dreams face-off against the Baltimore Ravens, scrimmaging in Indianapolis. Returning journalists Tamara Mearns (Washington Post), and her husband Bobby Kelleher (Washington Herald) serve as the teens' mentors and guardians. Stevie reports for the Herald, while also working part-time for the CBS network.

At a party, Susan Carol gets wind of the California Dream offensive-line taking painkillers when an inebriated doctor blurts out that his job is to give the shots, saying that 'not everyone who tested positive was suspended ... the league is covering it up'. After Stevie sets up an interview with a Ravens player for the scoop on his friendship with a Dreams player at a New Jersey high school, he seizes the opportunity to gather information. When Susan Carol asks: 'How is it ... that this always happens to us?', Stevie replies, 'Just lucky, I guess'. They end up under fire from other a reporters, team players, Super Bowl fans, and especially from the ruthless owner of the California Dreams.

Once readers get past the author's celebrity name-dropping, the momentum builds into a good story for football enthusiasts. Feinstein provides insight into activities before the big day, offers an inside look at how far some professional athletes will go to win, and also gives cameo roles to real Baltimore Ravens team members, whom he credits for insights in writing Cover-up.

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