When a young writer dies before completing his first novel, his teacher, Jake, (himself a failed novelist) helps himself to its plot. The resulting book is a phenomenal success, but Jake worries: what if somebody out there knows? Somebody does. As Jake is increasingly tormented by accusations and threats, he learns more about his former student and the source of his marvellous plot - one that, it transpires, is an actual person's actual story. That actual person is furious. The closer Jake gets to the real people he's fictionalised, the more violence he unearths; if he can't figure out who he's dealing with, he risks something far worse than the loss of his career.