• Third and Long

  • By: Bob Katz
  • Narrated by: Arthur Morton
  • Length: 8 hrs and 40 mins
  • 5.0 out of 5 stars (12 ratings)

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Third and Long

By: Bob Katz
Narrated by: Arthur Morton
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Publisher's Summary

Can the handsome, haunted stranger with a mysterious past save the soul of a dying Midwest factory town? This novel is so good-hearted, so life-affirming, it’s a joy to listen to....

Meet Nick Remke, a damaged former Notre Dame football star desperate for a job and, maybe, redemption.

It’s 1997. Longview, Ohio, USA. Nick finally gets his chance when he’s hired to run Made Right, a family-owned clothing factory severely threatened by offshore competition. The entire town depends on the fragile fortunes of the overworked factory. All eyes now turn to Nick. 

Marie Zanay is among them. A single mother whose son stars on the Longview High football team, she’s spent a lifetime rooting for her hometown and is acutely aware of the overwhelming odds against it. Still, Marie is forced to admit that Nick the newcomer suddenly has the townsfolk feeling inspired. Is that hope misplaced, or is it possibly real? 

For Nick, it’s been a long, winding, rocky road filled with disappointment and doubt. Becoming MVP of a small town on the Ohio River was never his goal...until it became his dream. 

Third and Long is the saga of a vanishing America hanging by a thread, with perhaps just enough time remaining for one last Hail Mary. Think Friday Night Lights meets It’s a Wonderful Life. With a cast of characters both unforgettable and strikingly familiar, Third and Long takes you on a poignant, emotional journey across an iconic American landscape. 

Third and Long is an American classic. It’s a story about hope and possibilities, crumbled dreams, and surprising redemption. I loved it!” Listen to Third and Long today!

Third and Long is the winner of the Independent Book Publishers Association Popular Fiction award.

©2010 Bob Katz (P)2021 Bob Katz

Critic Reviews

"Narrator Arthur Morton introduces 1990s Longview, Ohio, a small town that could be Anywhere, USA. This story, told from the viewpoints of various residents, is enhanced by Morton's realistic character portrayals and irresistible descriptive powers. Desperate Nick Remke, who has just arrived in town, hopes to land a job at the Made Right Clothing Factory. Nick, who has a pronounced limp, is so relatable that an attractive secretary suggests he tell the sports-obsessed factory owner that he has a Notre Dame football injury. Nick gets the job and is also persuaded to coach the struggling local football team, which wins the town's affection. But when his deception is discovered, he's forced to leave everything he's grown to cherish. This novel's hopeful conclusion is ideal for challenging times." (S.G.B., AudioFile Magazine, Portland, Maine, published: January 2022)

What listeners say about Third and Long

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I Loved This Book!

I just finished Third and Long with tears in my eyes and a smile on my face. I didn’t want it to end. What a beautiful journey with a cast of lovable characters and a town that could be Anywhere, U.S.A. Nick, the main character is ostensibly looking for a job and a foothold in a life of failures and disappointments. What he finds is love, life, and a home.
But Nick has a secret. A secret that could upend his newfound haven. Although I love Nick, I think my favorite character is Marie, a spirited young woman with a flare who has yet to find the right man. When she does find love, it’s as tender and beautiful as any romance novel has portrayed. The author vividly paints the picture of Nick, Marie, and a supporting cast of quirky characters that somehow most of us have met in our lives. And there they all are, struggling to survive, dealing with a community crisis colored by shame, and finding themselves along the way.
Although football plays a part in the story, it is really more a metaphor and a foil for overcoming obstacles and coming together to achieve a goal. In the process Nowhere becomes Somewhere, U.S.A.
I loved Arthur Morton’s narration. He handled the many voices with aplomb and added just the right tone and pacing to heighten the emotional impact of this brilliant story.
If you’re looking for a feel-good story with characters that sparkle, I’d highly recommend Third and Long.

1 person found this helpful

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Life

A terrific story of life in a small town and the man who changed it.

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A beautifully written story of change rooted in the mythic power of sports and small town America

I wasn’t expecting to like Third and Long that much. I know nothing about football and couldn’t care less about it. And the author is known for sports-related books. But to paraphrase Renee Zellweger in Jerry Maguire, the author, Bob Katz, “had me at hello.” From his first introduction to Longview and the mysterious stranger arriving in town, I was taken in. The lush and loving descriptions of a small company town on the Ohio, poised on the precipice of global change, and the apparent angst of the new guy, Nick, pulled me into the story. I wasn’t disappointed. The story is beautifully told and gently compelling. I learned to appreciate the mythic power of Friday Night Football and a long lost star athlete, in the American psyche. But that’s too abstract. I just loved this book. I loved the town, the everyday people in it, and the powerful undercurrent of human imperfection and struggle. The attention to detail, sense of time and place, and the universality of the characters reminded me of Thornton Wilder. Katz give us a more hip and complex understanding of life, especially in this time, including the consequences of globalization, domestic violence, and the lifelong price of childhood trauma. And I especially loved learning about the disappearing industrial processes of uniform manufacturing! I found myself remembering the book long after hearing it. Katz is a talented and memorable writer.

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Third and Long Scores a Touchdown

Bob Katz scored a touchdown with Third and Long. More than tell an exciting sports story, this book offers a thoughtful, sensitive view of small town life in Middle America. Narrator Arthur Morton perfectly captures the cadences and overtones of the townspeople.

Even those initially unfamiliar with the football expression ‘third and long’ will appreciate how perfectly this image describes the behavior of the central character, a descent man desperate to succeed. This story invites deep reflection about human behavior. I strongly recommend this book.

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Redemption, suspense in a small town

As a longtime resident of a very small town where high school football is king and newcomers are often regarded with suspicion, I loved Bob Katz’s “Third and Long.”

It is a fascinating, perceptive and suspenseful tale that gripped me page after page. In fictitious Longview, Ohio, I saw characters I had come to know well in nearly four decades covering the news in my Sierra foothill community: chamber-of-commerce types, car dealers, school teachers, business executives, city council members, factory workers, American Legionnaires, bartenders and blowhards.

With this cast, Katz tells the gripping story of Nick Remke, who arrives by train on a September night to begin a new life in Longview. Questions immediately abound: Who is this guy? Where did he come from? And will this newly hired plant manager and rookie high school football coach win his new neighbors over? Or will a closely held secret in the end betray him?

Aided by an unnamed but highly perceptive hometown narrator who knows Longview inside and out, Nick’s story tantalizingly unfolds chapter by chapter as the town’s high school team advances against odds toward the championship game.

With cameo appearances by Jay Leno and Hall of Fame NFL quarterback Dan Marino, who actually makes a surprise visit to Longview, Katz’s “Third and Long” winds to its unlikely conclusion like a back-and-forth football game headed toward multiple overtimes.

You won’t want to leave your seat.

Chris Bateman, semi-retired journalist, Sonora CA.


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Caught the culture of rural America

I loved this story. It was very nostalgic for me as the author totally understood and correctly portrayed the culture of small towns and the honest relationships of people when I was a kid growing up in one of those small, mid-western towns It's a feel-good book with romance, secrets, love, hate, fantastic characters. I enjoyed the way the whole thing is told by one of the townspeople. And the book has a wonderful conclusion. There are lessons to be learned that are skillfully woven into the story. The only negative is that some of the language is rather inappropriate for my taste.

The narrator did a super job which always makes listening a real pleasure.

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It’s not who you are, it’s what you do…

A beautifully done story of a man looking for his break in a small midwestern factory town.

I was impressed with Bob Katz’s storytelling. He painted such vivid pictures with his words. I honestly felt like I was right there observing everything happening.

Arthur Morton gave an impressive performance. The story flowed so smoothly. A real pleasure to listen to.

I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and I have voluntarily left this review.

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Hooked me on a number of levels!

I was familiar with Bob Katz’s insightful and clever journalism pieces but this was my first venture into one of his novels. He hooks you immediately with some nostalgic Amtrak travel from Southern California to the Midwest. The character development is a slow build but by the middle of the novel I was going on longer and longer walks to extend my listening opportunities. I enjoyed Kaitz’s blend of globalization impacts, adolescent angst and small town culture that values that Bruce Springsteen ballad moxie.

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Listen to this book

This is a really good book. The story of a man who shows up in a small Ohio town where everyone knows everyone else to become manager of a family-owned clothing factory. As the story unfurls, we learn who he is and what it’s like being in a town devastated by businesses moving overseas or to non-union states. The story moves quickly, and the writing is evocative. I listen to audio books while I’m working out and walking the dog, but I found myself looking for excuses to listen.

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"Third and Long " a very rich and visible read

Bob Katz operates a literary Wurlitzer organ right from the start. Each conversation or meeting is first described; a diner, an office, a home, train ride, the town itself. This gives a very efficient and rich background for the people and institutions involved in the story. One does not forget a conversation when it has been saturated in a setting. It is as rich as a shoo fly pie, However, it goes down easily. A picture is worth a thousand words, and his descriptions are efficient and give the history of a place or a person and a culture that stays with them. (His metaphors are pictures, count the words there).

The renderings of the town give the duality of a historic novel, as it is. This writer grew up in a Midwestern small town -- at 9:00 p.m. the Volunteer Fire Department's calls were sent to the red phone behind the bar in Dettmering's Tavern.

The story and it's rendering remind me of the French Auteur movies of the '50s and '60s. Just enjoy it; there is a story in there as well.