I like James Ross, he is a character and all of his books have character. He started back in 2008 with Lifetime loser and has not looked back. Each time he dips his quill in the ink well I am convinced that he cannot beat the previous book, and each time he proves me wrong. Shari’s Shot is the 6th book and yes, it is even better than the 5th Pabbys Score.

What is his secret sauce? I have pondered this question long and hard. As a backdrop for all of his books is the Prairie Winds Golf Course. I don’t play the game of golf, Woods are what you put on the fire in winter, Irons are what takes the wrinkle out of shirts and the biggest challenge with Tee’s is the choice between a really good Earl Grey or a Darjeeling. James Ross however, has created a world where even the cynical Simon thinks of Golf as more than a brand of Volkswagon.

The books all feature the same characters, but rarely are they the center of the story, rather they play supporting roles. They are very cleverly constructed, it does not take long to view them as people you might well know. They are all set in their ways, retired commercial airline pilot Captain Jer who feels that a perfect day is a 6 pack of beer before the round of golf, one during, and one after. J Dub, and Curt the co-owners of the course and a pantheon of other fabulous supporting actors. Woohoo, a Japanese gentleman with an unpronounceable name, Bowtye, Pork Chop, oh the list goes on.

In Sharis Shot we get to meet, albeit in the past tense, Richard W. Richards. It goes without saying that the regulars had a nickname for him, 2dix! James Ross certainly knows how to be creative.

The stars in Shari’s Shot are Shari Daniels-Donnelly, and her husband, real estate mogul, Tyler Cy. Tyler Cy makes the money and Shari does her best to spend it. This is hardly a marriage made in heaven. The answer Shari muses, is to divorce Tyler Cy, a 50/50 split plus a bit more would give her $millions and leave she free to prowl for younger meat of the human kind.

Obviously Shari under normal circumstances would not be seen dead at a golf course like Prairie Winds, but the cancellation of her membership to the very elite Olde BlueBlood country club by Tyler Cy, finds a friend taking her for a round of golf at Prairie Winds.

Olde Blueblood offers 5 star dining and fine wines, Prairie Winds offers the clubhouse, cold beer, and if you get there early enough maybe a donut. But the humble Prairie Winds beats the pants off their swanky neighbors in one important area, the people!

Shari is persuaded to venture into the clubhouse after the round of golf, a chance to sit down have a cold drink and relax and reflect on golf, life and the universe. This day peace and tranquility was not on the menu. Captain Jer, retired Airline pilot, and now fixture and fitting at the club is sat in his usual seat. He maybe past his prime, and maybe he drinks too much, but Captain Jer sure likes women. At the sight of Shari and her friend, his testosterone kicks in and shouts “Get those two fillies a drink on me”.

There is little doubt that Shari would have loved a glass of good wine or a martini but instead settles on a bottle of water. It turns out to be not just any bottle of SPRITZ water, but one that offers the chance of winning a $1,000,000 prize to the winner of a golf tournament.

With this as the backdrop James Ross weaves his tale of murder and deception. It would be sinful to share more of the plot, it is so well crafted, a ballet of words. Unlike Agatha Christie where the reader was left guessing until the last moment who the murder was, James Ross keeps the reader guessing about what the outcome might be.

I give this book very high praise indeed. To get your own copy of Shari’s Shot use the Amazon link above.

Simon Barrett

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