Amen Corner by Rick Shefchik

amenReviewed by Allen Hott

For those of you who are not aware…Amen Corner is the nickname given to the extremely difficult 11th , 12th and 13th water holes at Augusta National Golf Club. And Augusta National Golf Club is the home of the famous Masters Tourney.

What can stop the Masters golf tourney from being played early in the spring? Practically nothing can stop the Masters from being played according to Rick Shefchik, the author of Amen Corner.

Someone has begun murdering folks at this year’s Masters and it is not an easy task to find that person. Not with all the attention in Augusta being centered around one of the greatest golf happenings in the world. And not with the presence of the many thousands of fans who come to see the greatest players in golf compete. The fans also get to see a fantastically manicured golf course at its springtime height of glory!

The story begins with a bastard son of an Augusta National Golf Club member being released from prison. He heads back to Augusta to repay his previous employer (the National) and his father for their actions toward him. The timing for him is perfect as the Masters is The event in Augusta each year.

Lucky for those who run the tourney that a police detective from Minneapolis made the list of amateurs who made the cut and get to play in the Masters. Sam Skrda is that golfing detective and it ends up that he is the person who goes after the killer. And perhaps even luckier is the fact that the ex-to-be wife of one of Sam’s best friends also is in attendance and ends up being a large part of the story.

As murders on the club grounds continue to occur and ominous writings are carved into the greens (“This is the Last Masters”), the chairman of Augusta National asks Sam to help the local police and the state police not only find the killer but to keep the entire matter as quiet as possible so as not to endanger future Masters tourneys.

Much of the book describes the Augusta National course and does it very well without getting to involved and dry. For those of you who have never witnessed that course in early spring with the entire woodlands in bloom you can get some sense of the spectacular setting from Amen Corner.

Sam plays in the tourney (not making the cut as could be expected) and goes on to try to figure out who the killer is and why. With the help of the locals and his newfound caddie/girl friend he is in and out of trouble much like a golfer up till the final ending. The ending is not really much of a surprise but the final five paragraphs make up one of the best finishes I have ever read in any novel. Great job!

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