|Reviews and Endorsements for Sudden Death
"You like golf, you like murder mysteries - then Sudden Death is your book!"
"Pure fun, pure intrigue. The action never stops till a fascinating climax."
"Michael Balkind has really hit a hole in one! Sudden Death is an enjoyable and fun
murder mystery that will appeal to every sports fan. I give it fore stars!"
Howard J. Rubenstein
President, Rubenstein Associates, Inc.
"Sudden Death is a terrific read, with compelling characters and a fast-
paced, unpredictable plot. A great ride."
Joshua Malina, American Film and Stage Actor
Starring roles in Big Shots, The West Wing, Sports Night, A Few Good Men and more
"An upscale mystery that golf fans are sure to enjoy."
Bestselling Author, Attorney, Former NFL Defensive End with the Atlanta Falcons,
Radio commentator for NPR and Host of Fox TV's A Current Affair
"Sudden Death is sure to be a winner!"
Wendy Corsi Staub
"The nail biting drama of a great sports story...
with a heart pounding murder mystery...
Sudden Death brings them together to make the perfect book."
Ryan Burr, ESPN Anchor
"Sudden Death spins a tangled web of murder and golf that's as mysterious and fun as
the game itself."
Tom Coyne, Author of
A Gentleman's Game, Paper Tiger & A Course Called Ireland
"Sudden Death gives a whole new insight into the game of golf, This thriller has hit a
hole in one!"
Randy Jurgenson, Retired N.Y.P.D. Detective and author of Circle of Six
“Sudden Death is one of those books you pick up, and don’t put down until the last page.
Sudden Death is a hole in one."
Conrad L. Ricketts, Executive Producer, Extreme Makeover: Home Edition
"I couldn't put it down. Anyone who loves golf will love Sudden Death."
David Yoho, Management Consultant, Professional Speaker
"Tee-rrific first outing by a promising author."
Brian Moss, Former Editor, NY Daily News Express
"Superb Read! Could not put it down. Golf references are spot on. Great story line...
Balkind should be congratulated."
Kenneth S. Francella, President, Global Investment Research, Inc.
"I don't golf, but I found myself totally involved with the characters. Michael's writing
style had me in the middle of the action and kept me there to the end."
Frank DeAlto, Retired N.Y.P.D. Sargeant
"Sudden Death appealed to my inner golfer. A real page-turner and an easy, entertaining
Stuart Malina, Director of the Harrisburg Symphony Orchestra,
Music Supervisor of Broadway's Movin' Out, Guest Conductor of the NY Pops at Carnegie Hall
"Sudden Death is a direct hit! A Hole in One with crisp, tight action boldly mixed with
flesh and blood characters that jump out at you from the page. An excellent read from
the opening shot to the very end...!"
Kurt Bryan, Author of The Game Breaker & The Double Move
"Sudden Death is a gripping story of terror on the tour that keeps the reader engaged
throughout. You feel like you are walking the fairways while looking over your shoulder
like Reid Clark, as you play through chapters 1-36. A great read!
Jeffrey H. Edwards, President, DeForest Enterprises, Inc.
"Michael knows his golf and his murder. This is the perfect mix of golf and suspense. The
game is a mystery, as we all know, but Sudden Death makes it a bigger, better mystery. A
Dave Berner, Host of Travelgolf.com This Week radio show
"Michael Balkind intrigues golf enthusiasts far & wide with his first suspense novel.
Wrought with danger, mystery and a bit of golf, this page-turner will keep you on the
edge of your seat."
Country Club Quarterly Magazine
"In his first novel, Michael Balkind has crafted a suspenseful thriller that uses many
familiar Westchester County references."
The Met Golfer Magazine
Tee Time for Suspense
“Saturday was an exquisite day. A deep blue sky was dotted with just enough cottony clouds to give
periodic relief from the intense sun. The air was balmy and as expected, the crowds overflowed the
fairways.” Descriptions like this put the reader right into the context of Balkind’s story about a
pro golfer playing through a personal threat on his life. Told in a play-by-play style, “Sudden with
Reid Clark, the main character, lives the somewhat stereotypical life of the sports star and he treats
the supporting cast of characters thoroughly and delightfully throughout the novel. One
entertaining example describes Reid lavishing all-you-can-spend shopping trips on his sisters and
another illustrates the family’s enjoyment of one another as they spend time together between the
Master’s tournament and the contest laced with the threat on Reid’s life.
The security detail embedded with Reid as he goes about practicing and playing serves as a
counterweight to the family-and-friends scenes. They, along with the wide range of emotions
experienced by Reid as the tension builds, remind the reader that having superior skills and worldly
success are no guarantee of sustaining a peaceful state of mind. Balkind does a good job of
gradually building the mystery and suspense throughout the story: “As much as he had tried, Reid
couldn’t concentrate on the movie. He was upset and annoyed. Why had it taken a death threat to
get him to spend time with the people he loved? Was someone really going to take all this away
Adding another layer of interest to the story is a scene where Reid films an endorsement commercial
for a golf ball company. I thought this scene provided an interesting insight into how professional
sports stars have to be good at more than just the sport they love and it provided a sense of balance
to the mystery and description of daily activities of life on the tour.
I gave Sudden Death four stars because while the suspense built throughout the novel and I felt
that Reid’s character grew steadily with each chapter, I didn’t really get a good look inside the
head of the character who wished to kill Reid. Part of the enjoyment of reading mysteries for me is
gaining an understanding of how evil people think and what drives them to plan harmful actions.
This was missing for me in this novel. Overall, however, Balkind does an excellent job on his debut
novel and his attention to detail and thorough understanding of both golf and his characters
supplies the reader with an enjoyable read. There is enough substance in this book to appeal to
golfers and non-golfers and men and women both are likely to find it entertaining.
Paula Buermele: Paula is the author of The Dream Catcher Tour. She is a member of the Upper
Peninsula Publishers and Authors Association and the Metro Detroit Creative Writers group
Grisham of the Greens
It's an age-old duffer's dilemma: If you're passionate enough about golf, you'd probably rather be
out playing the sport than writing about it. Perhaps that explains why there are so few breakout
novels about the links—and why the success of Sudden Death, Katonah writer Michael Balkind's
first book, is the literary equivalent of a hole in one.
A mystery novel with pulpy rat-a-tat-tat prose, it follows Reid Clark, a Jack Nicklaus type, who
gets a death threat at The Masters and faces even higher stakes at the fictional Westchester
Classic (a stand-in for The Barclays, née the Buick Classic). Just as thrilling as the plot,
however, is the novel's backstory. Like most newbie novelists, he was basically on his own to
promote the book. His strategy? Get it in the hands of literary legends Clive Cussler and James
Patterson (a part-time Scarborough resident), which, miraculously, he did. Both gave the book
glowing endorsements. Balkind then turned his Jeep into a mobile form of "guerrilla marketing,"
covered in quotes and jacket art. And, finally, he canvassed the county, visiting every local
course, colleague, restaurant, and business he'd mentioned in the pages (and there are lots).
Naturally, they all bought a few copies, and their friends followed suit, and pretty soon Balkind
was appearing on ESPN and the book was selling out on Amazon.com.
By June, it had been optioned for TV by Marc Entertainment and he was at work on a series of
sports whodunits, Deadly Sports Mysteries. Readers can even visit his website (balkindbooks.
com) to enter a contest to be a character in his next novel. Just remember, though, he'll probably
have to kill you off. —T.M. InTown Magazine June 25th, 2008
A Novel Golf Book
Michael Balkind's golf-murder mystery, Sudden Death, is a suspenseful tale around bad boy
PGA Tour pro Reid Clark who receives a death threat at the Masters (as if being on the top of
the leaderboard heading into Sunday wasn't nerve-wracking enough!) It will keep you engaged
until the final putt falls.
Executive Golfer Magazine June 2008
Growing up, I had two main obsessions - sports and reading. This was convenient, as it was very easy to combine these
two passions. The Sporting News was always read cover to cover, as was Sports Illustrated. Going to a baseball game
meant a program to read. And every morning the sports page from the local newspaper was my loyal companion.
Of course, there were also plenty of sports fiction to devour, especially in my pre-teen years. I eagerly read a series of
books such as "Catcher with a Glass Arm" by Matt Christopher, and a host of other sports-related books that appealed
both to a love of the game and a love for stories.
With the novel Sudden Death, author Michael Balkind has created that same type of reading experience, but for adults.
Because while Sudden Death will not go down in the annals of literature as a classic, it's the type of book that an adult
sports fan can enjoy both for the athletics and for the storytelling.
Sudden Death is the story of Reid Clark, the No. 1 golfer on the PGA Tour. Clark is an irritable sort, and his constant
run-ins with the press give him the reputation, and the nickname of the PGA Tour's "Bad Boy." Nonetheless, Clark's
prowess on the golf course makes him a winner in more ways than one, as a huge endorsement deal sets him up
financially for life.
Unfortunately for Clark, someone's out to get him. He's besieged by threats on his life should he win an upcoming
event. As the plot unfolds, suspects emerge then fall by the wayside and Clark's life becomes more precarious and the
tension he suffers from becomes greater.
As to be expected from a first-time novelist, Balkind's prose can at times be hurried. While we are aware that Clark has a
temper and a drive to be the best, we are given no real reasons or life experiences to show why he is that way. As the
book begins, we see Clark as an arrogant, surly, somewhat misogynistic athlete whose main thrill is to win golf
tournaments, though he's not even sure he really wants to do that any more. Basically, Balking has created a complex
character in Clark, but doesn't fulfill that promise or give the reader insights into why he is that way and how those
loves the thrill of the deal the way Clark loves the thrill of the victory. The caring family members who Clark (for
reasons unclear) has not spent enough time with in the past. There are those assigned to protect Clark who are rough
sketches of what security personnel should be.
The character that could have truly used some more development is Shane, the love interest of Clark. We know of her
beauty and of her strength of character, but only because Balkind tells us she is beautiful and has strength of character.
As a beginning author, Balkind truly falls into the trap of describing his characters, rather than allowing us to learn about
them through their deeds and actions.
It would be unfair, however, to hold these faults against Balkind, as his book delivers on several fronts. The threats on
Clark's life are well-spaced, lulling readers into getting to know about the life of an ultra-successful athlete before coming
out of the blue to remind you that his life is in danger. In this, Balkind's pacing is smart, and his writing shows a flair for
In the end, a reader is able to see that the threats against Clark's life - instead of making him more bitter and shut in -
make him a more open and accepting person. In Clark, Balkind has created a character who grows as the book
For those who enjoy some life-and-death suspense to go along with well-described sports action, Sudden Death is not a
letdown. Balkind has created an interesting and readable story that those who grew up loving both sports and novels
will truly appreciate.
By William K. Wolfrum, Staff Writer WorldGolf.com October 2007
It was awesome! I am not a sports nut but it had me from the first chapter. It felt like I
was there with them at every turn. If you are a James Patterson fan then you will love
Michael Balkind. I liked it so much I bought his 2nd book Dead Ball and once again it
was great! I can hardly wait for his next book. (I wish he'd write faster!)
Love love love. You won't be disappointed.
Dianne M. Sheen
A must-read for avid golfers,
Michael Balkind captures the stress of the pro golfer and the life they lead on the PGA
Tour. Hopefully most pros don't have to endure the stalker out to kill them "if they win
the next tournament"! This story is full of surprises and keeps you enthralled. From the
beginning the reader is taken inside the life on the road and the behind-the-scenes world
that no one gets to see with sports stars today. Thrilling to the end.
Big Al (Afghanistan)
Enjoyed Sudden Death very much.It kept me guessing the whole time. Couldn't wait for
Dead Ball and read that one as well.
Connie H (New York)
5 stars December 26, 2009
Very exciting read
Its great when you discover a new author.I got Michaels book by pure chance and
Sudden Death is an awesome read. Sent to America for it and it couldn't come quick
enough. From the moment i started reading i couldn't put it down ,even if you aint a golf
fan like myself.Great characters and very gripping storyline.
Will be ordering Dead ball as soon as i can and hopefully will be as addictive as Sudden
J. G. Wilson