This is the story of two men. Both are published authors. Conner Joyce has had quite a success with his series of crime thrillers. Adam, the narrator, has published one book. They met years ago when Adam interviewed Conner for a profile published in his now-defunct literary magazine.
This is Conner's story. But it is also Adam's.
If I tell you too much it will spoil your surprise at the many twists and turns of the tale. Basically, a wealthy book collector, Dex Dunbar, asks Connor to write a one-off crime novel that no one else will read. It is for his private collection only.
But things go awry. (Of course, if they didn't, there wouldn't be a story.) Conner relates his dealings with Dex over a series of months to Adam who has complications in his own life to deal with. Action takes place in the college town of Bloomington, Indiana, Chicago, and New York. It is quite lively.
The fun thing about this book is its intermingling of information about reclusive real-life authors — J.D. Salinger, Thomas Pynchon, Harper Lee, et al. — jabs at the academic world, and its sly look at the state or fate of modern publishing and book selling.
I know this is a bit vague because I don't want to give too much away, but believe me, I found myself caught up in the zigzag unfolding of this entertaining literary mystery. For once, there are no bodies, only books.