“An interesting take on how the lessons of golf sustain life and the underdog getting justice . A lot of twists and turns that make the book an interesting read.”see full review » see other reviews »
“An interesting take on how the lessons of golf sustain life and the underdog getting justice . A lot of twists and turns that make the book an interesting read. ”Melodee J wrote this review Saturday, October 2, 2010. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Posted on May 20th, 2008
by Simon Barrett in Book Reviews, Reviews
This is James Ross’ first exploration into the literary world, and he should pat himself on the back for producing a very well designed and executed story. I like my heroes heroic and my villains villainous, and Ross delivers.
Being a book reviewer, I maybe treat reading a little different from most people. I pick up a book, check the number of pages, the typeface, and font size. Lifetime Loser based on my reading criteria looked like a two, or at most 3 day adventure. How wrong I was, it took me over a week to read this book. The plot lines are intricate, and the character development intricately and cleverly handled. I knew I was in trouble when at the end of my first day of reading I had barely scratched the first 50 pages. I took some time out to think about this shocking statistic. It wasn’t that I had lost my touch at the art of reading, it was just that there was so much detail that was so well written, it took time to assemble and file the information.
OK, I suppose you want to know what the book is about?
Our hero is J. W. Schoeder (aka J Dub), we meet him as a young man who has a flair for the game of golf, his father having taught him all he can about this gentleman’s game. J Dub has a chance to make it to the big league, a player on the PGA. One momentary lapse of concentration wrenches defeat from the jaws of victory, and J Dub loses his opportunity. What next for this young man and his pregnant wife? A life giving golf lessons at the local driving range?
J Dub’s angel comes in the form of one Lewford E. Zerrmann. Lew is a ‘land man’ and has recently purchased a rather run down golf course, he needs someone with a knowledge of the game to run it for him. Better still, because Lew is such a nice guy he will offer a partnership, J Dub can have have 20% of the business, and a first option to buy should J Dub wish to become a sole owner.
15 years elapse, and about the only thing J Dub knows for sure is that his partner is no gentleman, he has no people skills, and seems to be hell bent of driving customers away. The golf course on the other hand is a popular spot, cash flow is great, yet their never seems to be any money left in the bank after expenses have been paid.
As the relationship becomes increasing strained J Dub is forced to start looking around, and talking to people. What he hears and sees does not make for a pretty picture. He must know make a decision, to walk away from 15 years of sweat equity or stay and fight?
This is a great book, it has murder, swindles, forgery, tax evasion, pretty much everything you could want in a great read. Lew has all of the social skills of Rattle Snake, while naïve J Dub plods gently along at his own pace. In a David V Goliath battle who will win?
I will not give the intricacies of the plot away, and neither will I spoil the ending, but I will whet your appetite with the fact that the ending will come as a big surprise.
You can pick up your copy from Amazon.
“This sounds like a cool yarn golf the sport of kings and yet like all empires and castles so much more going on under the surface ”Robby b wrote this review Sunday, August 15, 2010. ( reply | view 1 replies | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“First let me start by stating that I am in no way considered to be a book critic. However, I know what holds my interest and what does not. Having said that I recently had the opportunity to read, the James Ross book, Lifetime Loser. This book is the first in a series of 3 novels to date by Mr. Ross.
Lifetime Loser is a story about greed vs. honesty. Its backdrop is a golf course and there is a well woven plot that involves a naive golf professional, J.W. Schroeder and a very unscrupulous business man, Lew Zerrmann and his equally dishonest associates and acquaintances. Ross takes us on a journey that spans two decades and has enough twists and turns to keep you hanging on every word.
For me this book was as interesting a read as a John Grisham or Patricia Cornwell novel (two of my personal favorites). The character development was strong and effectual. The proverbial fight of good vs. evil plays well in this book especially with the focus on greed. It rings so true for today’s world. It is not until the end that you really find out what will happen. There are many surprises even at the end so don’t think you can figure out who wins. You’ll need to read the book.
The bottom line is that I ended up putting off some office work to finish this book. It is a real page turner, even if you are NOT a golf fan. I am anxious to begin reading the second of the series, Finish Line. But for now, I have to get back to my office chores. I may have to burn some ‘midnight oil’ tonight and get into the next story….
Recommendation: A hole-in-one!!”
“J.W. Schroeder (known as J Dub) is one shot away from getting the score he needs to become a member of the PGA Tour. He has played well throughout this qualifying tournament, and his confidence is peaking. His wife, Marcia, is standing nearby, pregnant with their first child. She questions the unstudied approach that J Dub is taking to such a crucial swing, while his suddenly swelling ego allows him to believe nothing can go wrong. Marcia’s doubts prove warranted when J Dub fails to earn a spot to play his beloved golf game professionally. With all of the family’s hopes and dreams riding on that ill-fated shot, what will be next for the Schroeders?
So begins the first foray into the literary world for author James Ross. Over the next 300 pages of Lifetime Loser, Mr. Ross takes us through twenty-three years of J Dub’s life and introduces us to a cast of unforgettable characters. J Dub and his wife are lured to Illinois by the villain of the novel, Lewferd “Lew” Zerrmann. Lew asks J Dub to manage a golf course he just acquired, with promises of eventual ownership and a life-changing fortune. However, as the novel unfolds, we realize that failing to keep his word is the least of Mr. Zerrmann’s unappealing qualities. Lew and his business associates introduce the well-intentioned J Dub to a world of murder, perversion, tax evasion and a demented fascination with a genocidal dictator. What could go wrong?
One of the strongest parts of Lifetime Loser is the detailed attention to character development that Mr. Ross pays to each player in his story. We learn the background story for each person, from high school experiences to luck with women to professional successes and failures. The readers also receive vibrant physical descriptions … for better or for worse! I found myself rooting for J Dub and his family, while becoming more sickened by each new detail that was shared about Lew Zerrmann. The emotional investment that I staked in these characters was directly due to Mr. Ross’ determination to make these people three-dimensional and complete in their personalities.
I also was drawn to the layout that Mr. Ross uses to develop his storytelling. While the entire novel is written in the third person, the person, issue … and even year … of focus changes from chapter to chapter. We are let into the homes of the characters and even unexpectedly taken back in time to provide context for the plot. There are also lapses allowed in the chronology so that the reader is given the opportunity to fill in the details based on what we have learned about the people and their situations. Ross manages to elegantly fold these different snapshots together to create a novel rich in detail.
Readers should not expect a quick and casual read that can be completed in one afternoon. The text of Lifetime Loser is dense and needs to be read carefully. I found several instances in which I flipped back to chapters I had already read just to see how a particular aspect of the plotline had shown hints of itself before fully unfolding. The need to go back and forth in my reading was not due to any shortcomings on the part of Mr. Ross’ writing, but was instead based on my interest in how Ross managed to get the intricate story to its current point.
This initial offering, Lifetime Loser, by James Ross is a great novel for anyone who appreciates the art of creating strong characters on the written page. It is not often that I find myself audibly gasping in reaction to a development in a novel, but the actions of the main players in Lifetime Loser made me do just that. This book is certainly a page-turner, but with a plot that deserves your time to give it a slow and deliberate read. I have no doubt that you will be amazed by some of the situations that our protagonist faces as he simply tries to support his family by helping others play the game that he loves. Ross has a creative mind that translates well to each page of his first book. I look forward to meeting the other people who I hope James Ross chooses to create in the future.
“I'm looking for a place where I can borrow this book. Not in the public libraries I've checked so far.”Janie P wrote this review Friday, July 23, 2010. ( reply | view 2 replies | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No