Shawn Dygert’s carefully calibrated life is going exactly nowhere, and he knows it. The family machine shop he inherited is circling the drain as his only customers, the Big Three car companies, bottom out in yet another late 1980s downturn. He can’t get his old flame Irene, the only woman he has ever really been interested in, to give him the time of day – no matter how much he apologizes. Shawn’s near term coping strategy is to carefully wind down the business while spending every spare hour playing beer league hockey in drafty rinks with ex-college players, former minor leaguers and assorted has-beens. Beyond that, well, he’ll worry about it when he gets there.
Then he learns that Dygert Mold Inc., a drifting plankton in a sea filled with automotive whales, is inexplicably coveted by Dick Rabideaux, a Big Three executive who will stop at nothing to get it. Why Rabideaux would want Dygert Mold, with a life expectancy measured in weeks, is beyond Shawn’s comprehension. All he knows is that even though his family business may be worthless, he won’t be forced into giving it up. No, not that.
Shawn’s careful calibrations are further upset when he learns that Joey Durkovich, a beer league rival and minor real estate wannabe, is in hot pursuit of Irene. Not that there’s anything he can do about it at the moment. Then more complications: His old high school baseball and hockey coach, Father Don, pulls him into a hare-brained fundraising scheme, a charity hockey game, to benefit Gordie, a very sick kid and the son of Shawn’s old friend Lumpy. Doctors say Gordie has "Detroit-itis" which seems to be contagious.
Shawn has invited none of this. But he’s determined to do right by his family’s legacy, by Irene, and by the kid. If he won’t prevail, at least he’ll go down swinging. When Dick Rabideaux makes his final, violent play for Dygert Mold, the messy, disconnected threads of Shawn's life pull together. And out of the failure, the ugliness, and the broken relationships, he finds his way to a new understanding about life that until so recently seemed without hope or promise.
- Van Ledyard, March 2012
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