Secretly raking through Stewart's files, Cal finds a superb manuscript of a novel, "Almost like Suicide", that he is horrified to discover is based on his own sexual exploits, unwittingly recounted to the attentive Stewart. Coincidentally, at this time, Stewart is accidentally killed while out on his bike. Feeling cheated that Stewart has hijacked his own private and personal experiences for use in the novel, Cal misappropriates his dead roommate's manuscript, submitting it to top literary agent, Blackie Yaeger as his own work. Cal rationalises his criminal actions, convincing himself that since it is his life, his experiences being described in the manuscript, he is, though not strictly speaking the author, entitled to claim the book as his own.
"Almost like Suicide" proves to be a sensation, taking the literary world by storm. Instant literary acclaim, fame, fortune, book tours follow, launching Cal into the world of television talk shows and movie deals, living out a destiny that was rightfully Stewart's had he lived. The shadow of the dead Stewart looms over Cal who again finds himself walking in a dead man's shoes when he contrives to meet (and falls for) his dead roommate's ex-girlfriend. But ... there's always a price tag! Is Cal about to reap his comeuppance, the bubble he's been living in about to burst? The roller coaster ride that catapulted him to fame and fortune is about to turn upside down and plunge him on a downward spiral into a world of blackmail and murder. Another thriller with a "finders-keepers" plotline you may enjoy is "A Simple Plan" by Scott Smith.
The premise is great. Cal Cunningham is a struggling writer who has hopes of one day penning a great novel. It's no surprise that he hasn't been successful since, for the past two years, he hasn't written a thing...not one page. He thinks about it all the time, and imagines himself as a best-selling author, but hasn't been motivated yet to put that pen to page.
He spends his days at his job stacking books in a local bookstore. At nights, he spends his time carousing with loose women in tawdry bars. He shares a cramped NYC apartment with his roommate Stewart Church, a law school student. Stewart is such a bore and spends most of his time typing away on his laptop in the seclusion of his bedroom. When he comes up for air on the weekends, Cal regales him with stories of his ventures into the wild nightlife of New York. Stewart hangs on every word...and that's all I'm going to tell you. What happens next is unbelievable. One little event, one little decision made, one little lapse in judgment will put Cal on the ride of his life. Unfortunately, he might not be able to jump off when he wants to.
This is the story of how Cal Cunningham becomes a best-selling author. It's by far the page-turner of the year for me reminiscent of other favorite page-turners like Scott Smith's A Simple Plan and Douglas Kennedy's The Big Picture. I can't say enough about this book other than "READ IT." I found out something "about the author" John Colapinto - not only is he terrific but he's also found a new fan in this reader.