A Chicago shamus and world-class kickboxer juggles a pair of intriguing cases and a chance at a title bout.
On the same morning, private-eye Ron Shade gets two very different job offers. Lawyer Rick Walters hires Shade to help with a civil case. Esteemed physician Todd M. Gooding has escaped conviction for the murder of his wife, Laura, largely because of renowned defense attorney Mason Gilbert’s brilliance. Walters’s preparation for a wrongful-death suit has been hampered by the suicide of his investigator John Tunney. Less congenially, Shade is asked by his cop pal George to help Lt. Bielmaster, whom Shade remembers without affection from his days on the force. Bielmaster’s daughter Grace has fallen for petty criminal Tim Knop, and Shade’s task is to scare the kid off, within the law. He’s lukewarm about the assignment, but the sight of Bielmaster ill in a hospital softens him. Shade’s knee injury has slowed him down and caused a bit of a weight gain, but his busy schedule makes gym time an additional challenge, even though his trainer, Chappie, is determined to get him into fighting shape for a title bout. Tunney’s suicide looks suspicious. Knop doesn’t appear to be the thug Bielmaster imagines. And does Shade have a prayer against the Russian behemoth Sergei Seleznyov?
Black’s smooth style makes Shade’s third escapade (Windy City Knights, 2004, etc.) brisk and entertaining.