Murder in the Rough Review
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Murder in the Rough is a collection of 15 stories about golf and murder. Like most collections or anthologies, the course of the book is often uneven and jerky, with the quality of the stories bouncing all over the place. With Otto Penzler, a major force in the traditional mystery genre, in the role of editor, itís surprising that this isnít a stronger book overall.

There are some really good stories in the book, but none of them are really good murder mysteries or even good golf stories. The good stories in this book are centered on strong characters with sexual overtones. When the sex, or the good characters, are taken out, the stories are rather bland.

The more traditional stories deal with golf pros that blackmail the club members or competing mafia bosses. These stories all have the parts needed for a good murder story, but they never give the reader a reason to connect with them. There are a couple of stories in the book where the writer clearly has never been on a course. In another context they might work, but when the framework is a book of golf mysteries, they fall short.

This book has a ton of potential to please mystery fans who enjoy golf. Itís just too bad that there arenít enough strong stories in it to hook the readers itís aiming for. Of the 15 stories in the book, I can only recommend five or six as good, readable stories. Readers have to be able to connect to the characters in a book, and Murder in the Rough doesnít give the reader enough good characters to do that.

Normally, Penzlerís work is top shelf. This time itís closer to bargain basement.

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