In his first novel, Chad Dundas, a sports reporter who has worked for ESPN, Sporting News, and his local Missoula, Montana newspaper, introduces us to Pepper Van Dean, the former wrestling champion of the world, now reduced to being the star attraction in a traveling carnival, along with his wife, an expert card dealer, working the gambling tent.
Pepper puts his life in jeopardy every day in the performance of his act. When he's offered the job of training the first black wrestler to be given a shot at the wrestling title, he and Moira see it as a chance to get back in the game. The two wrestlers and their wives become friends as Pepper trains with him, but Pepper knows that this fight has been fixed, as was his own last championship bout. Things will not go as the gangsters had planned, and Moira insures that they will both survive.
Dundas has recreated the sometimes violent world of American professional wrestling in the 1920's and the characters who peopled that world.
CHAMPION OF THE WORLD is the first in a two-book contract with Putnam. The second novel, to be completed in a year, will be a Montana-based thriller, featuring an injured Iraq war veteran whose life is thrown into chaos by a mysterious house fire.