A former high school basketball hero facing first the middle-age blues and then the murderous enmity of a mob enforcer must decide between leaving the hometown that still idolizes him and embarking on a dangerous course of revenge.
Surprisingly little has gone right in Nicholas "Duke" Ducheski’s life since his last-minute heroics won the state championship game for the Mingo Indians. He got his girlfriend, Nina DeMarco, pregnant and had to marry her. Their son, Timmy, was deprived of oxygen too long before birth and has come of age speechless in a nursing home bed. In a bid to break out of his job as a millworker, Duke has partnered with his old friends Moonie Collier and Angelo Angelli to bankroll Duke’s Place, and it’s been a gratifying success. But Nina won’t divorce Duke so he can marry charge nurse Cara Wilbright, and Nina's twin brother, Tony, has made it clear that Duke lives and breathes only at his sufferance. When Moonie, hopelessly in debt to Tony’s boss, Salvatore Antonelli, ends up killing Antonelli courier Frankie "The Troll" Silvestri, Duke’s friendship with Moonie drags him so deep into a macabre criminal plot that it’s not clear how he’s ever going to get out. What is clear, despite all the time shifts and flashbacks within flashbacks, is that his choice is between giving evidence against Tony to the FBI, entering the witness protection program, and saying goodbye forever to Cara and Mingo Junction or finding a way to get the goods on Tony that’s a lot more successful than his laughably ineffectual first attempts.
Yocum (A Welcome Murder, 2017, etc.) produces a slow-moving study of a likably mediocre small-town hero out beyond his depth that gradually catches fire as his peril becomes more urgent and the stakes ever higher.