Written by Mike Dooley’s mom, Sheelagh Mawe, Grown Men is a fictional story about the lifetimes of two childhood friends and rivals, revealed over a tennis match with a surprising victory. Truly riveting, enthralling and intriguing, it’s Sheelagh Mawe’s most critically acclaimed work.
Sheelagh Mawe, Mike Dooley’s mom
Austin Sinclair and Jack Winston grew up together on the poor side of town. One quiet, sober, and tenacious; the other a reckless charmer, always seeking a challenge. Together, they shared a love for tennis that forged an unlikely bond and incited a fierce rivalry between them. Chancing upon the game in high school, they mastered it, each nurturing secret dreams of fame, wealth, women, and glory on the championship circuit. Then adult life took them in different directions.
Jack and Austin haven't spoken in years. Now they are grown men: mature, accomplished, and middle-aged. And a chance reunion in a crowded restaurant results in a friendly, fateful invitation to compete once again at Austin's exclusive tennis club. But from the first serve on an impeccable clay court to the final, breathless point of a truly unforgettable match, unresolved resentments and tensions will determine the pace of the play.
For every lob and backhand, every point surrendered or won, brings with it serious questions about the past and the choices made. With each set comes potentially explosive revelations about love, money, and the nature of competition. And by match's end, Austin and Jack will know more about themselves, their game, and their friendship than they knew at the onset... and their lives will have changed forever.
"This story unfolds with compelling suspense. Readers may shudder at what is happening on the court but they will not look away. It is a fine story full of awakennings, surprises, and analogies."
- Naples Daily News
"A pair of tennis rivals, competing again for the first time in thirty years, attempt to hash out some of the questions and conflicts of middle age and come to terms with the road not taken."
- Publisher's Weekly
"The narrative viewpoint in this novel bounces across the net with every volley, as we gradually realize how much is at stake for each player. Delivered with all the style and pace of a Henman backhand."
- London Daily Mirror
"In the noonday Florida sun, two old rivals play a tennis match to the brink of exhaustion. Each sees the match as an opportunity to redeem a lifetime of perceived failure. An exciting and compelling story."
- Orlando Sentinel