Ballantine, March 2002, 23.95, 256 pp.
Long before they joined the tour, PGA players Conner Cross and John McCree have been close friends from their Oklahoma childhood days, but their respective careers are going in different directions. While both enjoy the off course camaraderie and wacky bets, John is a steady player earning a living while the more talented Connor struggles to make the cuts. However, this year both have been invited to the most prestigious of the Grand Slam events, the Augusta National tournament better known as the Masters.
However, a killer mars this year's tournament in Augusta, Georgia with John being one of the victims. The death of his friend shocks Conner who though distracted tries to play up to his potential in respect to his buddy. As Augusta police officer Nikki O'Brien investigates the killings, she offers Conner an additional distraction as he too tries to solve the case of who murdered his friend with one of his clubs.
FINAL ROUND does not include William Bernhardt's usual protagonist Ben Kincaid, but still has a wonderful eccentric lead protagonist who is the opposite of the conservative lawyer. The story line crosses several sub-genres lines to include sports mysteries, police procedural, and amateur sleuth tales. Though the who-done-it is simplistic yet engaging, it still feels like a bogey next to the hole in one homage paid by the author to golf especially the Masters. Though more for golf fanatics, overall FINAL ROUND is a birdie.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner