After his young athlete lover is assassinated on the Olympic track in Montreal, coach Harlan Brown is forced to enter the race of his life.To survive the hate and violence which threaten his chosen family - Betsy, valiant lesbian mother, Vince, angry activist seeking revenge, Chino, Vietnam vet with a wounded heart, and the secret child of Billy Sive, The Front Runner.
In 1974, The Front Runner was published, a novel of love and loss that became a best-loved classic about gay life. Now, twenty years later, comes the sequel — a story of passion, and victory pulled from defeat.
At the Montreal Olympic Games in 1976, a sniper's bullet had ended the life of a young gay athlete — U.S. distance runner Billy Sive. To Billy's lover, coach Harlan Brown, it was the shattering end to a dream love. Harlan, at 41, must somehow heal his heart, and find new purpose in life.
In time, a second chance at love comes. Vince Matti, 25, a runner who was Billy's best friend, has harbored an unrequited passion for his ex-Marine coach. Handsome, volatile, and passionate, Vince challenges Harlan's stoic and lonely heart in unimagined ways. Harlan must race with the shadow of the past - that memory of the brief idyll with Billy — and reach a present where love is enduring and real.
Meanwhile, Harlan's ordeal with bias and bloodshed is not over. Snipers often work in pairs, and the Montreal shooter evidently had a cohort who escaped arrest. This mysterious stalker moves implacably into Harlan's world. And yet another stalker is moving into gay life — a disease that has no name.
Fans of The Front Runner will find major new characters to intrigue them. There is Chino Cabrera, war veteran and Harlan's bodyguard — the one other man who stirs Harlan's heart, and leads him to an unsuspected vision of what real love is. And familiar characters, notably Betsy Heden — a spirited young lesbian athlete and mother, who fears what the stalker might do to the child she had with Billy Sive.
As events move to the climax, Harlan runs the most desperate race of his life — risking everything to win the victory torn from his hands at Montreal.