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The Bender Files opens with a flashback of a spontaneous girl’s trip to Las Vegas. In the first chapter, we meet our nervy protagonist Eydie Le and her partners in crime, Zelda Scott and Joan Williams.

Eydie Le is in her late twenties and trying to get into a comfortable groove with her life. Her views on most things are middle of the road. Most of the time she “goes along to get along”, but we soon learn the tiger will show her claws when backed into a corner.

Joan Williams is a dependable woman who grew up in the South. Her views on relationships are idealistic and traditional. She is often the voice of reason among the three friends, and although she is consistent, she is not always predictable.

Zelda Scott is the eldest in the group. She possesses a sarcastic attitude and hardboiled approach to life. Her strength comes from self-reliance and healthy cynicism.

Together Joan and Zelda contrast with Eydie adding insight to our main character’s personality. Right from the start we get a sense of the tight knit relationship between the three friends and their different perspectives on the subjects of sex and dating.

In the first chapter, we also meet Tom Stockton, the primary antagonist. Stockton is a confident and charismatic salesman. He excels in all things as a typical “alpha male”. The man also possesses a dominating and manipulative streak, often losing control of his megalomaniacal and paranoiac tendencies when under pressure.

After the Vegas flashback we are quickly brought to Los Angeles where we learn that after three years of being in a long-term, live-in relationship, Tom has cheated on Eydie. She wants to leave the relationship but he owes her fifty grand. Eydie decides to stay and work things out.

Things seem to turn around when Tom closes a deal with an investor to start a new business. But as the flagship store is getting off the ground, the couple is robbed by gang members. There is a shoot out and Tom wounds the gang leader. Fearful of retaliation, the pair become fugitives from their own lives.

Tom goes into hiding. Eydie gets out of town with Joan and Zelda to lay low for a while. The ladies head for Las Vegas where they make some new friends and end up at a hooker party hosted by a charming drug dealer.

After Las Vegas, Eydie returns to Los Angeles in an attempt to regain a normal life, but is unable to resolve her turbulent relationship or know with confidence she is no longer in danger. Our protagonist then decides to flip the script and gets on a plane to Manhattan for a fresh start on her own.

Upon her first bite of the big apple, she meets a variety of oddball characters and has some encouraging job interviews, but is unsuccessful in securing a foothold and returns to Los Angeles.

The story reaches its climax when Eydie decides to leave Tom for good and shoulder the debt on her own. While picking up the pieces and going on with her life in Los Angeles, she meets a possible love interest online. Around the same time, a contact from her recent trip to Manhattan offers her a temporary job in the French Riviera.

Our protagonist sets off for the Cannes Film Festival and gets a taste of the glamorous life. In the final chapter Eydie is tempted to get involved with a dubious character eschewing responsibility and her better judgment. But in the last moment of deciding whether to extend her trip or go back to America, she gets word of Tom’s demise and returns to Los Angeles.

Payback’s a bitch. Even worse is being on the hook when it’s someone else’s mistakes we’re paying for. With every breath, time keeps slipping into the future where our ambitions for love, happiness and success are either drawn in a little closer or blown further out of reach.

What we can never forget is that our past shapes the path we take and every decision, no matter how seemingly insignificant, leaves its mark with a price to pay in our future.