The little man caught in the big wheels of politics is handled from a suspense angle and his flight -- to a possible safety -- becomes a nightmare. Charlie Bell, crippled in a train accident, from his post as railroad crossing tender, sees and helps a woman brutalized for the possession of a brief case. Saving only part of its contents, he runs away but never far enough, for the hunt is on for him as the woman's killer, and Chicago is not big enough for him and the hoods trying to retrieve the missing papers and recording which have a vicious value in a corrupt Senator's presidential electioneering. Bars, stations, men's rooms, a rattle-pated old lady, a foot doctor, a bookstore, a locker and the Negro section provide refuge for Charlie while the higher up politicos mend their fances and their underlings fight it out among themselves. An auto accident forces Charlie to try escaping on a train -- but it is death he meets. A crowded picture of a small timer in big time operations keeps the manhunt theme on the commonplace level and underlines the dangerous state of ""the man in the middle"". A first novel of a sober cut.