'Out of Bounds' by John Corrigan

By: Dr. John Wagner

Sometimes wine drinkers will order a label that did not impress them the first time but are willing to give it another try. In a similar vein, I read Corrigan's book after failing to enjoy his previous effort, "Bad Lie." Unfortunately, the second go-round also failed to impress.

Corrigan's premise for his golf-detective series is simply implausible. How can Jack Austin, a PGA Tour pro, also be the world's best detective while trying to whip Tiger Woods every weekend?

"Out of Bounds" begins at a funeral of a fellow pro who was murdered in a Chicago alley. The Chicago homicide police dismiss the crime as a mugging and don't investigate as they're too busy. But a good friend of Jack's asks him to investigate since the evidence suggests a contract hit and is not the mugging murder considered by the police.

At about this time Jack is elected to the Tour's Players' Advisory Board by his peers. To me, this implies that he must be a pretty upstanding citizen. But a few pages later I learn he doesn't like a rule that prohibits caddies from entering the Players Room and has been fined over eight times in a season over this objection. This is the kind of person who drives me nuts: Rules are for others but not for me. If Austin doesn't believe in the rule, then get it changed through the due process he's now a part of.

He then flies to Chicago to talk to the widow under false pretenses to gain her trust. Again, I thought this was a man considered by his peers as intelligent and of good character. Later on, Austin gets into a scuffle in a locker room and slugs someone, earning a $100,000 fine from the tour commissioner. Jack accepts the penalty and steps down from the board.

Corrigan's book jumps all over the place, with very few stops making much sense to me. At times, it seems he just throws stuff at the reader to juice up the narrative, despite the fact it has no connection to other parts of the story.

Much like the bottle of wine, if you liked his previous effort, buy Corrigan's latest book. For me, I didn't like "Hot Shot" and don't care for "Out of Bounds." If I start a bottle of wine and find it uninteresting, I pour out the rest rather than drink it. After 110 pages, I felt the same about this book. I'd much rather spend my time reading something with more body and taste.

"Out of Bounds," by John Corrigan, University Press of New England, ISBN -13 978-1-58465-585-5

Dr. John Wagner has been a Seattle dentist for 37 years. He's been published in several dental journals as well as had several articles appear in the turf magazine for Pacific Northwest golf course superintendents. John has served as a guest lecturer at the University of Washington Business School for several years and as a guest lecturer for several dental societies. Dr. Wagner is the co-designer (with Steve Shea of the Berger Partnership) of a golf course in Japan that cost over $120 million and was built by Wadsworth Golf Construction. He's a Past President of the Washington State Golf Association and a Trustee of the Pacific Coast Golf Association. John is currently a Member of the USGA Green Section and a Director of the WSGA.