This is James Ross’ fourth book, and once again we have the Prairie Winds Golf Course as the back drop and several of the characters in the book are familiar ones.

What I like about James Ross is that while he reuses his writing investment in back drop and characters, each book is completely different in its subject matter.

Lifetime Loser is very much a legal thriller, Finish Line almost a coming of age story, and Tuey’s Course is a rather sad reflection of oppression. The other unusual and notable trait is that these books for the most part are not a series. The standard ‘this book picks up where the last one ended’ does not apply.

While Lifetime Loser is undoubtedly the cornerstone, the other books mostly coexist in the same timeframe, they are merely different facets of James Ross’ fictional world at the Prairie Winds Golf Course.

I opted to read the last three books in the order they were published, but the reader is not obligated to do so, each story stands on it’s own.

If James Ross can be unconventional then so can I. My plan was to interview him after I had finished all four books, alas my curiosity was too great and lured him onto the radio a couple of weeks ago, it is well worth listening to.

Oops, talking about unconventional, I guess I really should talk a little about Opur’s Blade, well it is a review after all!

We first meet Opur at the tender age of 12. Owen Purler does not have a great family life. An over protective mother combined with an overbearing father have created a child who certainly does not meet the Websters Dictionary definition of ‘Self Confidence’.

Owen’s mother Rayleene reads about a free summer program being sponsored by the Prairie Winds Golf Course, youth are invited to participate in some free golf lessons, overseen by course owner and resident pro J Dub Shroeder. Unfortunately there is a minor error in the announcement, a discrepancy between the day of the week, and the date. Raylene,Owen and his friend Johnny turn up one day too soon.

J Dub takes it in his stride:

That means they are going to get a private lesson to start them off on the right foot

While Johnny hacks and slashes, J Dub watches in amazement as Owen picks up in a few minutes, what others strive for over decades. Owen has a natural ability.

As Owen becomes a regular feature around Prairie Winds the locals, as they do with everyone they like, find the need to create a nickname for Owen Purler, Opur is born!

We follow Opur’s life for well over a decade. Golf is by no means a cheap form of entertainment and Opur has many hurdles to navigate.

I will not spoil the story by telling more of the plot. Instead I will tell you a little more about James Ross. There are people that you take an instant like to and he is one of them. In some ways I suspect that Opur is James. I do know that he loves the game of golf, and he started playing around the the same age.

A week or so ago we had a great phone conversation, it was one that made me chuckle. I am not a golfer, no self respecting golf course would let me within many miles of their hallowed turf. The one and only time I have ever played, I scored 150, oh that was 150 over par!

One of the subjects that came up in our conversation was marketing. Authors today face a big problem, how do you make your book stand out from the 300,000 other new titles published every year? I asked him if he had tried doing book signings at golf courses. After he had finished laughing, he patiently explained that golfers golf, they don’t read books!

NOTE to golfers, in most places golfing is not a year round sport. In the off season pick up some James Ross books, you will enjoy them.

And a note to James Ross, the dialog used in Opur’s Blade by the British commentator was spot on! If you ever turn this into an audio book I want to read that part!

You can pick up your copy of Opur’s Blade by clicking on the Amazon link above.

Simon Barrett

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