Book Review: Sudden Death by Michael Balkind
I’ve long believed that one of the surest signs of good writing is when an author can get me interested in a story about an athletic contest. One of my favorite novels of all time is Fredrick Barton’s Courting Pandemonium. Released by Peachtree Press in the late 1980’s it is a story about a New Orleans high school basketball coach and his relationship with the first female athlete ever to play in men’s high school basketball. I found Barton’s writing laugh out loud funny, his characterizations of New Orleans and its inhabitants spot on and I recommended the novel heartily. Unfortunately, I didn’t sell very many copies of it, and neither did any of the other booksellers. Today Courting Pandemonium is out of print, not widely available and I can’t sell it to you. At least not today.
I have been very pleased with my new Cruz tablet, which I am finding is a perfect eReader device for me. I have already downloaded three eBooks and read two of them. Michael Balkind’s Sudden Death is a comic romance/thriller/mystery about a PGA Tour golf pro who enjoys his reputation as the bad boy of golf. I’ve previously written about James Patterson’s Tick Tock (Fast Food Fiction Not Meeting With Mr. King’s Approval) that while I can cook for and enjoy dining with people of very sophisticated tastes, when it comes to literature, as with food, I enjoy a good drug store paperback (or a good sloppy burger) as much as anyone. And that is exactly what Mr. Balkind has delivered in Sudden Death.
The fact that I have little knowledge and less interest in the particulars of golf did not hinder me in the least in following and enjoying the story of a man on the verge of beginning to win big in his profession who is threatened with death, via an anonymous note if he continues to win tournaments. Having spent years being a hot head and making enemies there are of course a boatload of suspects, and Balkind very believably brings in a team of professionals to protect the star who has just signed a huge endorsement contract with a firm that manufactures golf balls. The hero of course meets the perfect lady in the course of the novel, which ends (I know you didn’t see this coming) at the couple’s wedding. It’s not literature, and isn’t going to win any big awards. But if you’re in the market for a fun page turner, Sudden Death is Recommended.