Saturday, April 23, 2011

Review of Finish Line by James Ross

Genre: Fiction
Title: Finish Line
Author: James Ross

Thirteen-year-old Justin Ventimiglia is a good kid who seldom gets into trouble and manages well enough in school. He has issues with his step-father, but what kid doesn’t? And what kid doesn’t have a friend who pushes the boundaries of right and wrong? Justin has Keith Puccio to nudge him into trouble, and for the most part, the pranks are harmless.

Justin and Keith find themselves having to work their entire summer break at the golf course seven days a week from sun up to sun down to make amends for a prank gone too far. Curt, an old friend of Justin’s mother, agrees to take the young teens under his wing for the summer. Curt mentors the boys and teaches them all about the work needed for a golf course. Some of it is fun, some not so much, but Curt is always there to lend a hand or an ear. Learning to respect themselves and others goes a long way as these boys work to pay off their debt. Curt learns as much from the boys as he’s able to teach them, and everyone grows through the up and down experiences they have over the summer.

The omniscient voice choice by the author gives the reader insight into almost every character that appears on the page. The mostly male cast works well together and the author is able to capture many nuances of male relationships. Curt is crafted well as a mentor to teens and a man that other men look up to. Like in the first novel, the character backgrounds are entertaining and lend to giving a lot of color to the story, since every story is unique. The point of view choice allows the reader to get to know a large cast of characters but not any one character in particular. The short chapters allow for many scene and point of view shifts and keep the activity moving along.

James Ross graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia. After turning fifty, he searched for a positive outlet to battle the economic ups and downs that most people experience. He went to a keyboard and let the words flow through his fingertips. Finish Line follows Lifetime Loser in a series of books centering around the Prairie Woods Golf Course. James is an avid, low-handicap golfer who enjoys the sport and the lessons of the game. He shares his belief that golf may very well hold the key to a lot of life's best secrets, through his novels.

Although Finish Line is set on a golf course, it can entertain any reader. It’s also suitable for young adult and adult readers. Finish Line is a novel about the importance of setting goals and meeting them. It’s acknowledging that the goal isn’t achieved until the “finish line” is crossed. It is a good read. Reviewer: Lisa Haselton, Allbooks Reviews,

Available through:,, and

Publisher: Xlibris Corporation
ISBN: 978-1-4363-3326-9
Pages: 290
Price: $6.95

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