A troubled wife falls for the cop who chased off her abusive husband.
When superstar baseball player Dell Fletcher becomes addicted to prescription painkillers after unsuccessful surgery for a torn ligament in his knee, his personality also changes. Nicknamed the Roadrunner for his speed, Dell not only can’t run anymore—he can barely get as far as the bathroom to throw up. His beloved young son is beginning to look at him askance, wife Leah is losing patience. When he lashes out in a rage and slaps her one night, she calls the cops. LAPD Officer Angel Lopez interviews Leah, notes the bruise on her face, and takes Dell to the stationhouse. Lopez idolizes the player and has no intention of booking him, but he does serve up a lecture about appropriate behavior. Dell, meanwhile, can think of nothing but getting more Vicodin. In the squad car headed back to his house, simmering tensions between the men erupt into a fight. Lopez loses control and slams into a tree; when he comes to, Dell is gone. Lopez tells Leah what happened (sans any detail that won’t make him look good), and as the days go by with no sign of Dell, he begins to insinuate himself into the household, playing dad to her son and getting as close as he dares to her. Worn out with worry and years of stress, she eventually succumbs. But the cop’s increasingly controlling behavior and odd outbursts unnerve Leah, who suddenly orders him off the premises. Dell’s unexpected return from a rather unlikely hiding place will trigger another showdown between the men.
Spare prose zeroes in on the details that make characters come to life: another solid drama from the author of Nappily Ever After (2001).