Synopsis (from Amazon):
In the twilight of his NFL career as a middle linebacker for the Chicago Storm, Mike “the Steelman” Stalowski masks his physical pain and mental anguish with alcohol and painkillers. The fan favorite has a rebel image and a notorious reputation, and he plays a violent gridiron game fueled by inner rage.
While estranged from his wife and living in the fishbowl environment of professional sports, he unexpectedly meets the fresh-out-of-college Kim Richardson. She sees through Mike’s star persona to who he really is—a kind guy from the Southeast Side of Chicago who has never forgotten his humble blue-collar roots. The lives of the star-crossed, seemingly mismatched couple collide during a whirlwind romance that culminates in a tragic series of events.
The Walk-On is a timeless tale of love and loss that explores the consequences of personal decisions and the rewards of faith, redemption, and hope.
Amazon link: https://amzn.to/3EOQ9Yh
Goodreads link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/61830639-the-walk-on
Mike sidestepped her last question. “No, that’s just Gina. I started working here when I was thirteen. Rosy taught me how to wash dishes and bus tables. She still thinks I’m sixteen, hangin’ around with my teammates.” He knew Kim would eventually learn about Lisa, the missing puzzle piece to Gina’s cool reception
Richard Podkowski, a native of Chicago’s South Side, began writing fiction while studying criminal justice at Loyola University Chicago.
As a United States Secret Service special agent, Richard protected U.S. presidents and foreign dignitaries and investigated major domestic and international financial crimes until he retired in 2003.
Richard’s projects include a Christmas romantic comedy screenplay and a crime story, both currently in the works. In his free time, Richard enjoys riding his road bike, working out, and making Christmas ornaments. He currently resides with his wife in Los Angeles.
“The Walk-On is a fascinating story of self-sabotage and redemption. A page-turner!!!!
– Mary Pat Kelly, Bestselling author of Galway Bay, Of Irish Blood, and Irish Above All
“An interesting read where star linebacker Mike Stalowski confronts the inevitable challenges every NFL player faces as they transition to their post-football life. His experiences may seem exaggerated, but they are still very real.”
– Gary Fencik, Chicago Bears, Super Bowl XX Champion