NFL concussions center of plot of Tahoe author Todd Borg’s latest mystery novel
LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — Mishap, mystery and a former pro football player — what more can a reader ask from Lake Tahoe author Todd Borg’s latest novel?
Borg spoke about latest book, “Tahoe Blue Fire,” as well as his experience in writing his Tahoe mystery series overall, last Wednesday at the El Dorado Library South Lake Tahoe Branch.
“Tahoe Blue Fire” is the 13th book to feature private detective Owen McKenna; its plot revolves around a murder and fictional former NFL player, Adam Simms.
Simms initially appears to be a victim with bouts of amnesia as a result of a traumatic brain injury. However, when the former pro athlete becomes a prime suspect, McKenna has to determine whether Simms is faking or not.
Borg said he wrote the book after researching both TBIs and the 2011 lawsuit brought against the NFL by former Atlanta Falcons safety Ray Easterling alleging the organization engaged in deceptive practices when handling the science of brain trauma and concussions.
The lawsuit grew to include more than 4,500 former players, with the NFL making a $765 million settlement in August 2013.
“I’m very interested in brain dysfunction,” Borg said.
TBIs are caused in a variety of different ways, Borg said, namely concussions or repeated blows to the head.
“I thought, what if I had a character who was a former football player and had traumatic brain injury?” Borg said.
Enter Simms, the 350-pound former pro ballplayer with a history of repeated head bumps and no concussions.
The trick would be to determine if Simms does suffer from TBI or is faking it, Borg said.
“A lot of the information we receive about TBI comes from media reports or from the people who say they’re suffering from it,” Borg said of the character.
Borg has been writing for 35 years, and living at Lake Tahoe for 25 years. The first Tahoe mystery book featuring Owen McKenna made its debut in 2001.
The reason he sets his books at Lake Tahoe has a lot to do with the scenery, which often inspires, Borg said.
While the author sometimes places his characters in other cities, it’s to show contrast and comparison between Tahoe and other communities.
Denise Haerr, Friends of the Library program coordinator, said the books do a good job of taking people on a tour of the Lake Tahoe Basin.
“Todd’s books would make really great guidebooks to Tahoe if people weren’t dying in them,” Haerr said.
“Tahoe Blue Fire” was released Aug. 1 and is available on paperback at Amazon.com. As of Thursday, the online shopping site featured 15 reviews on Borg’s novel — and each one gave it 5 out of 5 stars.