THE ASPEN 2-MILLION WINNER-TAKE-ALL by John Morris

THE ASPEN 2-MILLION WINNER-TAKE-ALL

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KIRKUS REVIEW

This escapade revolves around a laidback “golf guru” living in Aspen who tries to get himself out of a million-dollar lawsuit involving the death of a neighbor’s dog.

The overall storyline—“serenity advisor” Morgan Somerville enters into an illegal winner-take-all $2 million golf tournament—has the potential to be irreverently humorous and entertaining à la Gregory Mcdonald’s Fletch capers, but the major stumbling block here is character development, or lack thereof. Most characters are superficial at best, with the descriptions coming in the form of comparisons to Hollywood stars or historical figures. Somerville bears a striking resemblance to Matthew McConaughey, best friend Justin Winship acts remarkably like Hugh Grant, former flame Mandie looks like “Nicole Kidman on a very good day,” and love interest, duplex neighbor Risa Wentworth looks like two swimsuit models: Brooklyn Decker and Bar Refaeli. The decision to focus more on repetitive comparisons than true description turns the characters into caricatures, hampering what could’ve been an endearing misadventure. Additionally, the burgeoning love connection between Somerville and Wentworth—believing Somerville killed her dog, “Miss Swimsuit” is in the process of suing him—is far from believable, leaving the entire premise shaky. That said, the sequences involving the golf tournament and the ensuing chaos are thrilling, and the rich descriptions of Aspen are well-done, which helps thaw the narrative. Especially intriguing are portraits of history and the decidedly cool ambiance, like KSPN, “the only radio station in the Universe that still plays Led Zeppelin every hour, every day.”

Plenty of potential, but the story’s snowed in.

Pub Date: May 10th, 2012
Page count: 281pp
Publisher: Publish Green
Program: Kirkus Indie
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