Best Served Cold: Essays
by Roger Zotti

"Creepy pleasures await the viewer in Carnival of Souls (1962). A superior horror flick that with the passage of time has become a classic…"

Zotti writes with authority and keen insight on sports and entertainment. He divides his collection of essays into two sections: sports and books, TV, and movies. Part one covers a range of sports from hockey to roller derby—each pastime handled with deft hands. In “Spoiler,” Zotti reveals not only his expert research skills but also his ability to sift through the research, finding the most relevant and amusing details about Johnny Risko’s boxing career. He starts with Risko’s breakout fight against Paul Berlenbachand before heading right into what he dubs Risko’s most unpredictable and memorable fight against Max Schmeling. In this way, Zotti delivers his reporting with an exciting pace that hooks the reader instantly and keeps one reading until the end.

Part Two dives into an entertaining look at books, TV, and movies. Covering modern, iconic sitcoms like Seinfeld, Zotti finds fresh insight and spins, highlighting the hilarious bit about Festivus invented by the Costanzas with detailed scripting. This same attention to details arrives with his take on the Hitchcock classic North by Northwest. Something Zotti does particularly well in his essays is to cite previous writing on the subject he investigates, providing essentially a reading list that will satisfy the curious, knowledge-hungry reader. For example, in the essay, “Mr. Thornhill Meet George Kaplan,” Zotti not only discusses Spoto’s The Art of Alfred Hitchcock, but also McCann’s Cary Grant: A Class Apart. These details add to the evidence of Zotti’s conscientious and fruitful researching skills. With very little commentary, readers will enjoy the play by play, no-frills style of this book.

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