Eddie Muller. The Distance (2002) 303 pp.
It’s 1948 and San Francisco sportswriter Billy Nichols (“Mr. Boxing”) is right where he wants to be, until he stumbles onto a shocking crime scene. Heavyweight boxer Hack Escalante has killed his manager, and for reasons Billy doesn’t fully understand, he makes a spur-of-the-moment decision to protect the prizefighter. Soon Billy’s in too deep, caught in a conspiracy of desire, deceit, and betrayal, and he sets off a chain of events whose consequences may cost him his beloved career—and his life. As Billy himself struggles to escape suspicion, he must square off against relentless police detective Francis O’Connor, carry on business as usual with his colorful cronies in the boxing world, and resist his overwhelming passion for a woman he dare not love.