By: Angie Haddock
…a psychologically suspenseful novel about a story too good not to steal, and the writer who steals it.
The basic idea of this one is that an author – Jacob Finch Bonner – hears an idea for a novel from one of his writing students. Years later, he finds out that the student died without ever writing the novel. So, Bonner writes it. It becomes wildly popular – on Oprah’s list, being made into a movie, etc.
But then, Bonner starts getting anonymous threats. Someone out there knows he stole the idea. They are threatening to expose him, but will that be as ruinous as he fears? He did write the whole book, so is it plagiarism if it was just the plot he stole? And more importantly, who else knew the plot? The dead student was very stand-offish, and most of his family is also dead, so who did he tell?
All of this sounds fine, but this book was all the rage in the summer of 2021! It made several lists, and was a Goodreads Choice nominee for Mystery/Thriller.
I will say, a lot of this book struck me as something that would specifically appeal to writers, publishers, and people who work with them. So much of it takes place in that world, and I wondered if that appeal is why people who write about writing/books were crazy for it.
Not that it was bad, by any means. But it was a bit slow. Things progress with Bonner’s online stalker, a bit at a time, over the course of months. In the meantime, Bonner travels around on a book tour, meets a woman who eventually moves in with him, and works on his next novel. A decent story thus far, but nothing revolutionary.
All the punch of this book comes in the last 25% of it! There are about three big revelations, by my estimate, and they definitely increase in craziness. But of course, why would I give away the ending?! If this book sounds at all interesting to you, you’re going to have to slog through it like the rest of us and find that epic ending for yourself!