|Keith Miles: Bermuda Grass|
Pen Press (Hardcover), ISBN 1-59058-004-4
I do not play golf. I once played Frisbee® golf, a game almost entirely like golf only not. Really, the only similarities lie in the tees, the fairways riddled with trees and water hazards, and the holes. (Like traditional golf, Frisbee golf courses generally meander over streams and through forests with only the occasional patch of clearing.)
Bermuda Grass by Keith Miles is to golf as Frisbee golf is to golf -- they share distinct commonalities but prove entirely different. The protagonist, Alan Saxon, happens to be one of those few people exceptionally skilled at golf. So much so that he, in the waning years of a professional golfing career, agrees to enhance his reputation by taking on the planning and construction of a new golf course on Bermuda. He teams up with a very successful, though painfully paranoid, Peter Fullard. The story begins in the final stages of the construction project which, in Alan's absence, suffered minor and seemingly unconnected setbacks.
Alan, trying to strengthen his relationship with his daughter, Lynette, invites her along for the first week of his planned three-week trip. His ex-wife expertly maneuvers him into taking Jessica Hadlow, Lynette's classmate, along for the trip. Expecting a friendly college student, Alan soon discovers his mistake. Jessica holds an advance degree in snobbish, overbearing, haughty and rude. Persevering, Alan gamely accepts the young-adults' idea of holiday fun -- and the fact that they mostly ignore him -- with the wisdom of a parent. However, when someone abducts the young ladies, Alan's whole world turns upside down. Even more so when Jessica's equally offensive father shows up.
Suddenly the disparate and annoying mishaps on the golf-course-to-be, including a rather gruesome murder, seem completely unimportant -- until they begin to link up with the abduction. Alan finds that he must sooth his always anxious partner, juggle an ex-wife and new love interest, deal with the mercurial Mr. Hadlow, solve a murder and retrieve his daughter -- not at all what he expected from a relaxing trip.
What could have been a golfer's book, or a simple who-done-it, turns out to be neither and both. Like Dick Francis and jockeys, Keith Miles uses golfers as a stepping off point for his story and a backbone for his plot.
Bermuda Grass held my attention and provided entertainment. A good solid book with interesting characters -- I would definitely recommend it.
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