Donovan’s Dilemma begins with the all-star quarterback of The New York Giants coping with a serious head injury which threatens to end his career. Pain and memory loss raise the questions “Will he ever play football again?” and “If not, what should he do with the rest of his life?”David Donovan moves from New York to Raleigh, North Carolina, to sort out his options. In Raleigh, he impulsively opens The Mozart Cafe, a temporary business he hopes will distract him. Instead, he is challenged by a desperate man demanding possession of The Cafe, a man willing to murder to get what he wants.
At the same time, a mother and gifted girl hiding from the girl’s jailed father learn he has escaped from prison. The frightened mother enlists Donovan’s protection, a move which adds powerful emotional currents to the quarterback’s impending decision.