[an Eddie Dancer Mystery]Book - 2007
Paul Menzies is an out-of-shape, middle-aged advertising executive, who arrives at work one morning to discover he's lost his job. Downsized. That evening, he stops by a bank machine to check his finances. Ahead of him, a scruffy young couple is arguing about the state of their own finances. When the muscular husband, Victor Shriver, loses his temper and smacks his wife hard, Paul steps in and hauls the young thug backwards across the lobby. Which is the only clear image caught by the bank's security camera. In the ensuing brawl, Shriver puts Paul in hospital for nearly a week. Despite the severity of his injuries, the cops have little choice but to lay charges against Paul for assault. Victor Shriver has found himself a sharp little lawyer, and between them they smell money, asking for $50,000. Instead Paul offers to fight Victor, mano a mano, in a boxing ring. Three rounds. If Shriver wins, Paul will pay him and the assault charges will be dropped. If Paul wins, no money changes hands and the assault charges will still be dropped. When she realizes there's nothing she can do to dissuade her husband, Paul's feisty wife, Valerie Menzies, hires Eddie Dancer to stop the fight. But it's too little, too late and when the heat of the media spotlight focuses on the "mismatched fight of the year," even Eddie realizes he's beaten. As the world's press and the TV networks pour into town for the main event, Eddie finds himself reliving some unresolved issues of spousal abuse from his own past. And once that lid is off, there's no way Eddie can ever get it back on again.