Arthur Pfefferkorn, is a middle-aged college professor with long dead literary aspirations. When his oldest friend, successful thriller writer William de Vallee, is lost at sea, Pfefferkorn is torn between envy and grief, for de Vallee not only outshone Pfefferkorn professionally, but married the woman Pfefferkorn loved. He struggles with his failed ambitions while reflecting on his late friend's successes and marriage. He decides to take the best-selling author's latest manuscript and publish it as his own. Although the novel brings him great success, his life soon spirals into a series of betrayals and double-crosses torn straight from the pages of his plagiarized work. His decision to reconnect with de Vallee's widow sets in motion a surreal chain of events, plunging him into a shadowy realm of intrigue, a world where no one can be trusted, and nothing can be taken seriously.