Once again James Ross takes us to the Prairie Winds Golf Course. A tranquil place where the locals congregate, sometimes they even venture out onto the golf course! For the inner circle Prairie Winds is a second home and come rain or shine they can be found in the clubhouse. Early mornings are coffee and doughnuts, if the weather is nice a quick round of golf follows. After a strenuous 18 holes of driving a golf cart it is time to relax, have a cold drink, play cards, and solve all of the worlds problems.

Running this idyllic adventure are owners J Dub, his brother Curt, and girl Friday Julie. I don’t even play golf, but if I did, this would be the one club that I would join. Who knows. I might even be lured to hack my way around the course.

What kind of gripping tale can James Ross pull out of his Golf Bag with this backdrop? Actually the answer is, A damn fine one. Pabby’s Score is not a single story, rather it is a combination of intertwining tales that at first glance have nothing in common.

J Dub has a big heart and when asked by a local children’s home if he might be willing to permit two special needs children and their care givers to hang out at Prairie Winds over the summer, no golf, no special treatment, just a way that Pabby and Shae could get a change of scenery from the Footprints of Hope residential facility.

It does not take long for the kids to become part of the crowd. Both are autistic but very skilled in certain areas, Shae knows everything there is to know about the different states, state motto’s, trees, birds, flower, size, etc. Pabby on the other hand is the expert on animals, at the mere mention of an animal he will tell you everything there is to know. Pabby also has another skill, but I will leave it to the reader to discover what that might be.

One morning 4 scruffy looking men arrive wanted to play a round of golf and for payment want to use a gift certificate that is two years out of date. Under normal circumstances J Dub would have refused them due to their attire, Prairie Winds is far from a snobby country club, but it does have a dress code. Julie however points out that it is slow day and an even slower bank balance. So reluctantly J Dub permits the 4 misfits access to the course, a decision he would learn to regret. Nothing beats being slapped with an $8 million law suit for negligence. The bunch of unruly golfers had managed to turn over a golf cart and supposedly get injured in the process.

As far as I can tell the only negligence that J Dub was guilty of was letting the four yobs play. Lawyers however have a very different view.

From these two seemingly unrelated aspects James Ross weaves a most curious tale.

Pabby’s Score may be marking a subtle change in James Ross’ approach to writing. He has always billed himself as YA Young Adult, I have never bought into that scheme. Yes he loves to feature young people, I am not convinced that the label works. He is a grown up author, with grown up standards. I think we will see the coming of age in his next book, tentatively titled Shari’s Shot.

Simon Barrett

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