Have you ever wondered what it would be like to get a chance to win a million dollars? What would you do to make sure you got that money? What would you sacrifice in your life to ensure the money would be yours? Interesting questions, all, and definitely a good idea for a book, which is probably what Brian Rouff thought when he wrote Money Shot. In his book, the million-dollar chance comes from the soft drink company Bigg Fizz, and the winner is Alan “Nick” Nichols, a burned-out ad executive from Las Vegas. When Nick discovers that he has the winning bottle cap and will get to shoot a three-point basketball shot for the money, he immediately quits his job, hires a coach and begins working on his shot full-time.
This is where the story should get really interesting. How does quitting his job affect his sense of self-worth? How does it affect his relationship with his wife and daughter? What type of relationship does he form with his coach? Such a pressure situation could easily lead to one’s life unraveling. Unfortunately, Rouff really doesn’t explore any of this. In fact, he doesn’t explore much of anything except page upon page of Nick practicing his shot, which gets old very quickly.
One area that is really under-explored is Nick’s relationship with his coach, a black woman named Angela. The racial tension between the two is laughable (along with Angela’s street talk) and, though Rouff tries every once in a while to throw in a revelation that supposedly brings the two closer together, it never really amounts to anything.
The only way that a book like this would work is if preparing for or winning/losing the "money shot" profoundly changed this man’s life. However, nothing really seems to change Nick, even though he has completely rearranged his life for this opportunity. And, frankly, reading about a character without that much personality practice for a shot is just not that interesting. Money Shot is a case of a great plot idea fizzling out and leading nowhere and, without strong characters to pull it through, the book ends up uninteresting and easily forgettable.