Picks and Pans Review: The Franchise
by Peter Gent
To readers of this disappointing, overwritten novel by the author of North Dallas Forty, the Super Bowl will never be the same. That game, played by an imaginary Texas Pistols team against a fictional Denver squad as the climax to this story, is a chaotic disaster—even more of a shambles than what one often sees taking place on TV in mid-January. Gent's hero is a quarterback who says, "I have discovered that what most people consider to be their moral code turns out to merely be their budget." He's the good guy. All the other people in this novel are vicious, lying, venal, cruel and greedy. The big money men pay off the politicians to get the new Pistols franchise and then organized crime moves in to take over. The hero loves the daughter of a rich Texan, but she is engaged to the son of another wealthy man. Gent, a former Dallas Cowboy flanker, seems to have lost all control both of his prose and his material. He has tried to combine a sports tale, a gangster novel, a Western shootout and a romantic love story. The Franchise is also packed with four-letter words, sexual sleaze and juvenile jock humor. It's like a football team that spends a whole game trying desperately to get past its own 20-yard line. (Villard, $16.95)
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