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Cut Shot    by John Corrigan order for
Cut Shot
by John Corrigan
Order:  USA  Can
Sleeping Bear Press, 2001 (2001)

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* *   Reviewed by Anise Hollingshead

Sometimes we lose sight of the fact that we don't have to be winners to still be successful members of a team. Jack Austin has played golf on the Tour for ten years, and has never won a tournament, but he has done well enough to stay on the Tour and make pretty good money, all the while having a great time doing something he loves.

While playing some of his best golf in a long time, Jack learns from a young player that organized crime is making in-roads into the Tour. Hutch Gainer, has been throwing games on command from an unknown source who's blackmailing him about his dealings with certain crime bosses. Gainer is trying to find a way to end it without being terminated himself. Upset that Hutch's dishonesty is threatening the game he loves, Jack decides to investigate by posing as a golfer who can be bought. These are dangerous people, so it's not surprising when Jack finds himself with maybe a bit more than he can handle. Oh, and it also doesn't help his undercover investigation that his fiancée just happens to be a Golf reporter with CBS, who soon latches on to the impending scandal surrounding Hutch.

This first novel from John Corrigan moves briskly along, with an interesting story that alternates between Jack's golf strategies and philosophies, increasing involvement with the mafia, and his relationships with his friends and fiancée. We become involved with John, a likable character, and care about him and his problems. However, some plot elements are a bit stretched in the believability department, notably the fact that a fairly well-known Tour player cavorts with obvious thugs during the tournament, without anyone other than the reporter/girlfriend remarking on it. Some characters are stereotypical, such as the mafia types and the best friend (the latter is the oft-used dangerous bodyguard who will literally do anything to protect his friend). And descriptions of Jack and Lisa's clothes, down to brand names, slightly irritated me; I didn't really care whether they wore Reebok or Nike shoes, or even if they wore shoes at all.

Still, there is plenty to like about this involving mystery, and the golf anecdotes and trivia are entertainingly intertwined with the central illicit gambling theme. A nice beginning to a promising mystery series.

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