an Introduction by Leonard Gardner, an Author Commentary,
and a collection of never-before-published deleted scenes
from early drafts of the manuscript.
Originally published in hardcover by Scribner, January 2002.
The Distance was one of the most highly acclaimed fiction
debuts of 2002, winning both the Shamus Award (from the Private
Eye Writers of America) and the Gumshoe Award (from Mystery
Ink) as "Best First Novel." It was also nominated
for the Anthony, Barry, and Macavity awards in the same category.
From the original jacket copy:
The demimonde of professional boxing resounds with echoes
of classic film noir in this thrilling debut novel from an
author renowned in both fields.
It's 1948, an era when newspapermen were starsand San Francisco
sportswriter Billy Nichols is no exception. Known as "Mr.
Boxing" throughout the city, he is the West Coast's answer
to Damon Runyonan insider's insider who plucks and polishes
his pearllike stories from the nonstop hustle of the city's
nightclubs, gambling dens, and ringside seats.
Billy Nichols 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 careerand
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.
Billy soon discovers that he's not the only yarn spinner in
this nefarious netherworld: many of the characters inhabiting
his well-honed newspaper columns have crafted their own alternative
life stories, hiding scores of secrets. Whose story will emerge
"If I walk in front
of a bus tomorrow, at least Ill have written this. Its
the one that matters most out of all the work so far."