The Zach Roper Mysteries
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A retired police detective turned wannabe golf professional can hardly find his way to the green without finding a body in Burton’s fun mixture of mulligans and mayhem.

Zach Roper turned in his cop’s badge and is now trying to make it on the PGA Champions Tour, where the over-50 crowd continues to play golf at a high level. As he tries to make the cut, he finds himself embroiled in stuff that doesn’t typically attend a golf match: murder, embezzlement, sexual stalking and international intrigue. To Burton’s credit, he not only makes these episodes (four separate stories, each about 60 pages) credible, but he has what appears to be a comfortable familiarity with police procedural work and golfing—its joys and sorrows and the elemental feel of the golfing landscape. There are moments of stiff interior dialogue, as when Zach struggles to understand what he’s seeing—“Is he just in over his head with this tournament…Or is it something else? His behavior is certainly out of place here”—and Burton’s irksome fondness for ellipses (“He needed a spectacular save out of the deep woods on 12…firing blind…not even sure he could get it back onto the fairway much less the green…amazed to find his ball ten feet from the hole…no idea how it got there”) doesn’t always work on literary or psychological levels. Yet the stories have the muscularity and acceleration to keep the reader involved, and Burton has great success with his characters, particularly Zach and the sassy Thai “princess,” a former professional golfer who joins him in three of the adventures. Those two also share a considerable amount of time in the sack—“The bed springs groaned loudly, no doubt unaccustomed to such a workout”—from Sweden to Southeast Asia, where Burton displays a decent hand at scenery description.

A solidly entertaining, mildly raunchy quartet of golfing capers.

Pub Date: March 10th, 2012
Page count: 313pp
Publisher: Amazon Digital Services
Program: Kirkus Indie
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15th, 2012


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