Fleeing Mississippi (Paperback)
It is 1949. Harry "the Hammer" Higgins's first mistake was winning a fight he'd been paid to lose. His second mistake was that the man he'd beaten was the reigning heavyweight champion of the world. Framed for the champ's death, he is forced out of boxing. Now he earns his living fighting in barns and alleys of small backwater towns. Although the standard pay was about fifty dollars, the biggest share of his profits came from the side bets common at such events. Whether he was supposed to win or lose made no difference to Higgins. He wagered accordingly.
After accepting money to throw such a match, he was forced to change the outcome when winning turned out not to be enough for his opponent. The man accepted a baseball bat from someone in the crowd with the intention of using it on Higgins as he lay prone on the mat, pretending to be too whipped to continue.
As before, winning a fight he'd agreed to lose infuriated those in the know who'd wagered heavily against him. And like before, these men wanted revenge for their losses. For Harry, it was time to get out of Mississippi.
While traveling by freight train back to his home and family in Saint Louis, he encounters a kid nearly as desperate to get out of Mississippi as he was. Despite the fact that a black man traveling with a white kid could get him hanged, the two become travel mates. The journey soon proves to be more adventurous than either traveler is prepared for. And soon, each finds they are dependent on the other for their very survival.