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The Ringer

3.75  ·  Rating details ·  85 Ratings  ·  34 Reviews
Sidelined from coaching his sons' baseball team because he can't resist hollering at loafers, lollygaggers, and space cadets, Ed O'Fallon hopes focusing on his daughter's tee-ball team will calm his temper. But just as Ed prepares to guide the Purple Unicorns to their best season, his work as a Denver police officer changes his life forever. O'Fallon bursts into a home on ...more
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published March 1st 2011 by Permanent Press (first published March 1st 2010)
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Mar 02, 2011 rated it it was amazing
A semi-finalist for the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award, Jenny Shank’s The Ringer is proof that such competitions really can bring the best of the best to the public eye. The story centers around lives affected by a police killing—a situation perhaps too easily read about in the paper. But these characters are no paper cut-outs, and when they’re used, by friends, the media, the department, as means to an end, they stand up and stand out. Jenny Shank’s writing makes the reader stand up and listen ...more
Benjamin Dancer
Dec 06, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Jenny Shank’s THE RINGER was published in 2011, but its themes are still quite familiar. The story gives us an intimate view of two families: Ed O’Fallon, a Denver police officer, shoots and kills Salvador Santillano, an emigrant from Mexico. The events of Ferguson, Missouri, dominate the news today, along with police shootings in New York City, Cleveland, Ohio, and Phoenix, Arizona. It is in this context that THE RINGER offers insight, indeed, medicine for us today.

The tragedy unfolds from two
Ashley Simpson Shires
Apr 14, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shank's first novel is riveting. The plot revolves around the accidental shooting of a Mexican immigrant by a police officer, and Shank does an excellent job writing from opposing points of view: the immigrant's family and the cop's family. The characters are complex, their pain and guilt palpable, and the children from each family are incredibly sympathetic. Shank paces the story well, drawing out the tension until the book is impossible to put down. The children of each family play baseball, a ...more
Mar 19, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2011-reads
Love this book. I'm always a little nervous reading the work of someone I know--what if I don't like their writing? About a quarter of the way through The Ringer, I was able to forget about that and just lose myself in the story. Jenny does a fantastic job of shifting voices and telling a compelling, believable story. This will be a great book club read and if you're a baseball fan, you won't want to miss this one.

(The only thing I didn't like was the font the text was set in, which was a distr
Cara Lee
Aug 21, 2011 rated it really liked it
"The Ringer" is the story of what happens to two families after one father, a police officer, shoots and kills another father, a Mexican immigrant, during a no-knock raid on a Denver home. It turns out the warrant had the wrong address—the cops had no business being at Salvador Santillano's home in the first place. That part of the story is based on an actual incident that happened in Denver in 1999. But author Jenny Shank creates two fictional families to explore the many possible impacts of su ...more
Gessy Alvarez
Apr 02, 2011 rated it it was amazing
With characters so richly developed and an intricate plot in place, The Ringer promises to be a suspenseful and revelatory literary experience. With wit and compassion as well as an extraordinary eye for detail, Ms. Shank exercises a unique and vibrant authority over the world she's created. She introduces characters who make choices that seem inescapable. Regrets and misapprehensions resonate on every page and evoke a sense of guilt that is gut-wrenching. There is more here than melodrama at pl ...more
May 20, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: colorado
The second of my personal reading recommendations from the DPL winter reading program, this was a timely read for the early part of baseball season. Plenty of Denver references to keep this relevant, though a few became dated as local establishments and icons are no more. Still, an interesting look at culture in the city from a variety of perspectives: gender, race, age, social status, talent, and justice.
Nov 09, 2011 rated it really liked it
A no-knock warrant gone wrong. A U.S. citizen from Mexico is erroneously killed by the police. This story is about the two families, the deceased’s family (wife, son and daughter) and the cop’s family (wife, two sons and daughter), and how they are affected by the shooting. The title refers to the deceased’s son, Ray, who seems to be a particularly talented twelve year old pitcher. The story centers to a great degree on baseball. The cop, Ed O’Fallon, coaches baseball. His son, also twelve, happ ...more
Jan 23, 2011 rated it really liked it
Ed is a beat cop, and happily so. He likes keeping a eye on his city, Denver. To make a few extra bucks, he sometimes signs on with the SWAT team to help with raids. On a March afternoon he was doing exactly that with a no-knock warrant (that means the police enter without announcing themselves to have the element of surprise) when he finds a man in the house who is clearly confused and bleary. Ed orders him to show both of his hands, and the man extends what seems to be gun and Ed hears what he ...more
Nov 20, 2011 rated it it was ok
This book seemed like it was written for the purpose of being made into a movie. I thought the story had a lot of potential, but the writing was weak and the messages were ultimately superficial - in fact, I'm not even sure what the messages were supposed to be. I thought the author did a decent job of showing two perspectives of the same story, revealing empathy for all of the characters. However, the characterizations were poor, and some of the characters weren't even distinct from one another ...more
Jul 05, 2014 rated it it was ok
I thought I'd enjoy this book a lot more than I did. It took me three and a half months to get through this one, as I took several prolonged breaks from it but forced myself to finish as I had invested $10 or so for the Kindle version.

A great idea for a story (I won't attempt another retelling of the plot, a summary can be found elsewhere) and I'd say pretty good execution by the author. I just didn't find the characters very likeable at all. I believe a death in circumstances like this would be
Jan 21, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: donated
"The Ringer" was a well written story that showed two vastly contracting points of view.

Ed O'Fallon is a cop with a good heart. He is a family man who is picking up an extra shift when he has to do the unthinkable, kill a man in the line of duty.

Patricia Maestas, the wife of the fallen man, is now a single mother to two children and fighting a battle of justice and political statements.

Both are trying to provide a life for their family. Their lives come together through their sons playing baseba
Apr 22, 2011 rated it really liked it
The Ringer by Jenny Shank is a well-written, easy to read book. Adequate character development and good story line. Ed O'Fallon is a police officer in Denver. He his thrust into a horrible situation when he acts on a "no-knock" warrant, just doing his job, and ends up killing an innocent man.

This is a story about acceptance, forgiveness and how others mistakes can change your life forever. I liked the way the author gave us the opportunity to see this disaster from all sides of those involved. T
Lorie Steinfeldt
Jan 20, 2011 rated it really liked it
I found this story refreshing. I'm not accustom to reading a drama or a baseball story. I really like the way the author changed from one main character to another. It kept the reader wondering what was happening to each family/character. It was very realistic. The characters struggles were felt. I found myself hoping that Ed would find someone to help him come to grips with his mistake. I also was also waiting to see if Patrica and Ray would forgive Ed. When the ending came I was waiting for cl ...more
Apr 02, 2011 rated it liked it
Good debut novel with an interesting premise. There's a no-knock raid in Denver and a man is killed by police. Unfortunately it's the wrong address on the warrant. Shank alternates between the policeman's family and the victim's family on how they all get through this horrific event. Patricia, the victim's wife has a daughter and teenage son that she needs to help through their father's death. They are Hispanic and Shank does a good job of showing how racial tensions and prejudices unfortunately ...more
Oct 14, 2014 rated it really liked it
Frontier fiction did not end with Louis L’Amour. Its themes and issues continue among today’s writers who place their stories west of the 100th meridian. Jenny Shank’s The Ringer is a fine example of how the frontier, despite Frederick Jackson Turner, has never really closed.

Set in modern-day Denver, this novel takes up two topics that date back to the origins of frontier fiction: the use of deadly force in law enforcement and the conflict between whites and the region’s ethnic populations, espe
Mar 09, 2011 rated it liked it
Jenny Shank, author of The Ringer, deals with real-life issues regarding race relations, in the police department and at home. It is an all too familiar story, told and retold throughout history in varying forms. Shank adds a dimension by showing how the most innocent - wives, sons and daughters (on either side of a story), can be permanently scared by the actions of one. In this story, it is the person who watches over the police force of a city. Which brings to mind the question, if a commandi ...more
Carrie Esposito
Jun 10, 2014 rated it it was amazing
The Ringer by Jenny Shank, though published three years ago, has an eerie timeliness in that it tells the story of a Mexican immigrant who is shot by a police officer. The story bravely gives the officer as much voice as the dead man's wife, so that as readers, we are forced to occupy both perspectives, even at the times that we might prefer to take sides. After all, taking sides is less complicated, but this story won't allow for such conclusions. Jenny is a writer who inhabits the worlds that ...more
Aug 05, 2014 rated it it was amazing
An excellent story with a page-turning plot and wonderful voice. I found the two main characters believable -- and surprisingly, both were sympathetic. This was a fascinating exploration from two vastly different viewpoints of what can happen (and probably will) when a no-knock raid goes terribly wrong. Ed O'Fallon's single, fatal mistake sends both his own and his victim's family on a collision course that no one wants to be on. The details of time, place, and circumstance are spot-on. Shank kn ...more
Jan 20, 2011 rated it liked it
When the book began I was pleasantly surprised at how I was sucked in to the storyline. I liked how the author switched between the two central characters in the book to give the readers a full understanding of both sides of the story. Unfortunately, the ending was abrupt and I was felt like the author didn't know how to wrap everything up. Overall, an OK book.
Apr 23, 2011 rated it liked it
This book has gotten a ton of attention here as she's a local author and the story takes place in Denver. And really great reviews. I did find it fun to read all the local references, but the characters and story line felt so forced to me at times. I just can't see what all the hoopla was about. This book and its characters weren't anything special to me.
Mar 18, 2011 rated it it was amazing
A SWAT team enters the wrong house on a no-knock raid and kills an innocent man. He leaves behind a son who ends up playing on the same baseball team as the sons of the policeman who killed him. Great writing, sports, racial tension, set in Denver, written by a Denver native. A recipe for a fabulous book.
Craig Lancaster
Jan 13, 2011 rated it really liked it
Jenny Shank makes a terrific debut with this book, and using baseball as the backdrop for intertwining the lives of her characters was a stroke of ingenuity. (It helps that Shank clearly is a knowledgeable fan of the game.) The prose is sure-footed and muscular, and she brings things to a satisfying conclusion. Highly recommended.
May 29, 2011 rated it liked it
A really interesting and well thought out story. I think Ms. Shanks writing will improve with a more experience. I enjoyed the fact that I was familiar with all the locations - the story took place in Denver.
Van Tilburg
Aug 12, 2011 rated it really liked it
A very good first book. It deals with the police, Hispanic culture, baseball, growing up and dealing with tragedy. I learned a lot from this book. The only thing I did not like was the author's use of coincidence, (over and over), to advance the plot. But overall a very good book and a good read.
Feb 17, 2011 rated it liked it
Recommended to Eva by: Goodreads
I won this book from Goodreads and it was definitely one of the better books. It dealt with a lot of issues, tragedy, mistaken identity, racism and baseball. This is a first novel for this author and she'll only get better with time. Looking forward to her next novel.
Jan 31, 2011 rated it it was amazing
love this book. very entertaining and well written. having lived in denver area for over 15 yrs it was an easy book to follow the areas she wrote about in this book.
Clay Yearsley
Mar 13, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction-general
Avoid it

This is just not a good book. Maybe hidden in there is a decent short story, if someone knowledgeable about baseball could rewrite it.
W.j. Jolly
Jun 18, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Delightful book set in the Denver Colorado area where actually lived for over 20 yrs. Able to visualize the story when reading it.
Kathy D
Oct 04, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I met Jenny at Lighthouse Writers Workshop Litfest this year and got her book there. Wow - I LOVE a book that keeps me thinking about it for days afterwards - and this is one of them.
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Jenny Shank grew up in Denver, Colorado, and earned degrees from the University of Notre Dame and the University of Colorado. She is the author of the novel THE RINGER (The Permanent Press, 2011), which won the High Plains Book Award in Fiction, was a finalist for the Mountains & Plains Independent Booksellers Association's Reading the West Award, and was a Tattered Cover Summer Reading select ...more
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