The more books I read by James Ross the more appreciation I have for his writing skills. In Tuey’s Course we once more have the Prairie Winds Golf Course as our backdrop. In his first book Lifetime Loser he focused on the legal battle to achieve true ownership, the lead character was J Dub Schroeder. It was a villainous tale.

James’ second book Finish Line was almost a coming of age book that had J Dubs brother Curt in the staring role. Finish Line was a very differently constructed work. Although it shared some common characters and settings it was focused in an entirely different angle.

I exchanged some emails with James Ross over the weekend, and he said “I can’t wait to see what you make of Tuey’s Course.”

Yesterday I headed for my favorite reading spot, my front porch and took Tuey’s Course for a test drive. Interestingly enough the night before my wife and I had watched one of our favorite movies Road House. There is a classic line spoken by Patrick Swayze “expect the unexpected”. That phrase was running through my mind as I started to read. And unexpected was certainly what I got!

James Ross have reinvented himself yet again. Many of the characters remain the same, but he has selected a very different subject to explore. His main character is a hard working self employed contractor with the very unlikely, but well explained name of WeWildapheet Ulisees O’Tweety, better known just as Tuey. The moniker Tuey being selected by his mother due to the fact that each of his names has two back to back ‘E”s in it.

Prairie Winds Golf Course sits on the east side of St Louis, the small town is on the outside a ethnically diverse, however once the veneer is peeled away a very different story emerges. Tuey is a humble and hardworking black man, and seems to have become the target of the all white city officials.

Racism is but one direction that James Ross explores. He introduces us to a long cast of sleazy characters. Corrupt politicians and a robber baron bank owner have big plans for making money through some land deals and development. Throw in a homosexual Catholic Priest, a bent College Football referee, and a dash of other assorted misfits and you have Tuey’s Course.

What I really enjoy about James Ross is his style of descriptive writing. Early on in the book we are introduced to Reverend Puld, and his love for ever changing signs out side of the church:

The sayings ranged from “Next Time You Think You’re Perfect . . . Try Walking On Water” to “America Needs A Faith Lift’ to “It’s Okay, I Didn’t Believe In Reincarnation The Last Time Either.”

It is this kind of creative writing that makes James Ross the great author that he is. These small diversions are delightful.

I have to admit that towards the end of Tuey’s Course I was a little worried, I could not see how he could reconcile a couple of very strange diversions. I thought that he was having a Robert Ludlam moment! For those of you not familiar with the phrase, it is when you turn the page three quarters of the way through a well constructed book and for no good reason Hitler walks into the room! James does however tie up these loose ends at the conclusion.

Tuey’s Course follows on directly from Finish Line, in fact in some ways they co-exist. As I write this review I am sitting on my front porch and in front of me are two books. One is Tuey’s Course, the other is James Ross’ latest release, Opur’s Blade. I have not opened Opur’s Blade yet, but based on the cover art, two golf clubs, I’d bed my bottom dollar that this is going to be another adventure involving the Prairie Winds Golf Course. Generally I like to think that I can get inside the mind of an author. This is particularly true when you have read two or three of their previous works. That does not work with James Ross, who knows where he is going to take us next!

In talking with him, I know that he has another book in the works, I don’t have a Finish Line on it yet, but I will bet that it will be another hole in one.

You can order your copy of Tuey’s Course by using the link above.

Simon Barrett

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