"Play Dead," by Ryan Brown is just plain fun.
Set in Texas, the story describes the problem of steroids in sports and is also a satire about the fanatical following of high school football and the manner in which football can dominate small town life.
The local high school football team, the Killington Jackrabbits, are having their best year and are only one win away from the district championship.
The key to the team is quarterback Cole Logan. He's attacked by three men wearing masks. He believes that they are members of the hated Elmwood Heights Badgers. When Cole refuses to throw the game for them, they cut off two of his fingers. However, not thinking clearly, they cut fingers from the wrong hand and Cole is still able to throw a football.
When this doesn't succeed in stopping the Jackrabbits, the members of the Badgers, think of a new scheme. They are led by a sadistic player named Booker, who has become almost insane due to his overuse of steroids. The result of this is that the bus carrying the team is in an accident and plunges off a bridge into the water below, killing the entire team, or maybe not.
Both Cole Logan and the coach's daughter, Savanna Hickman, are entertaining characters. These high school students are drawn to each other in a love-hate relationship that is interesting to see and humorous in the situations in which they find themselves.
Cole's next door neighbor Mona is described as a crazy witch-lady who has the ability to work with black magic. Her part of the story was very visual. I was reminded of Stephen King's "Pet Sematary," where animals return to life but eventually behave in a horrific manner.
Overall, I recommend this book for its entertainment value and message about the use of steroids. The conclusion was a stretch but I think that readers interested in adventure stories and not caring about the logic of a story, will like this.