Bad Lies: First Review

by Les Schupak, Met Golfer

It could be the basis of a new joke: A pro golfer walks into the 19th hole bar, meets a lawyer, and says, “We should write a book together.” The lawyer responds, “About what? Golf and law? Who would read that?”

While it didn’t actually happen that way, Hall of Fame golfer Tony Jacklin and renowned corporate attorney Shelby Yastrow have created just such a book. “Bad Lies” (Mascot Books, $29.95 Hardcover, Kindle) is a novel that not only golfers and attorneys will enjoy immensely — anyone seeking a revealing, suspense-filled, and gripping look inside the world of professional golf and the intricacies of trial law will find a just reward too.

This “odd couple” has crafted a mystery thriller plucked from today’s sports and news headlines. The main character is a hugely popular player, the leader on the Champions Tour for the past few years. A reporter writing in the game’s most influential monthly accuses him of taking performance-enhancing drugs as well as cheating during play by not properly marking his golf ball on the putting surface and other flagrant actions. The player and his attorney file a libel and slander lawsuit against the magazine and its powerful corporate owner.

A sub-plot emerges as the golfer is also being accused of sexual battery by a woman he met in a hotel bar. She is seeking payment to keep silent about the incident, and any news leak would certainly damage the golfer’s career and marriage.

Surrounding all of this is a focus on the First Amendment and how it affects the media as the reporter tries to withhold the names of sources in court, as well as exactly what constitutes libel and slander. Jacklin is no expert on those subjects, but Yastrow is; a veteran corporate attorney and trial litigator as well as a best-selling author of legal-themed novels, he deftly educates the reader about these subjects and escorts us through the maze of legal issues and courtroom histrionics performed by the attorneys for both the plaintiff and the defendant. Similarly, Jacklin delivers an inside look at what a professional golfer faces at every tournament and as a celebrity sports hero. He offers knowledge acquired over a half century of playing professionally around the world, including victories at the 1969 British Open and 1970 U.S Open. The main character has to deal with sponsors, tournament directors, fellow competitors, agents, managers, his caddy, and the media – subjects Jacklin knows first-hand.

As befits a legal battle, the conclusion rests with a jury’s decision. Legal arguments build, emotions on both sides rise, and the authors keep the reader guessing up to the jury foreman’s announcement. No matter what one thinks about the outcome of the case, in the opinion of this reader the verdict is that this book is a winner.

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Bad Lies Cover

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