Stewart Hoag’s first novel made him the toast of New York. Everyone in Manhattan wanted to be his friend, and he traveled the cocktail circuit supported by Merilee, his wife, and Lulu, his basset hound. But when writer’s block sunk his second novel, his friends, money, and wife all disappeared. Only Lulu stuck by him.
Stewart Hoag has quit ghostwriting. Living in Connecticut with his ex-wife, Hoagy works on a novel and tends to Tracy, his brand-new daughter, who’s more beautiful than anything he’s ever written and only took nine months to make. Life is peaceful, until Thor Gibbs arrives to tear it apart. An unapologetically swaggering author, Thor, is past 70 but still looks like the brash young man who befriended an aging Hemingway and inspired the first of the Beat poets. Once he was Hoagy’s mentor, but now he needs his help.
Stewart Hoag knows how quickly fame can fade. The same critics who adored his first novel used his second for target practice, ending his literary career once and for all. To keep his basset hound fed, Hoagy ghostwrites memoirs for the rich, famous, and self-destructive. His newest subject reminds him all too much of himself. By the age of twenty, Cam Noyes is already being hailed as the next F. Scott Fitzgerald. Though he’s only published one book, Cam runs with the big boys: dating artists, trashing restaurants, and ending every night in a haze of tequila and cocaine.
Celebrity ghostwriter Stewart "Hoagy" Hoag is off to London to dig up the secrets of reclusive bad-boy superstar Tristam 'T. S.' Scarr, formerly of the legendary British rock group Us. T.S. is ready to reveal all, in a book destined to become a controversial best-seller. But then someone intends to send Hoagy to the top of the charts with a bullet.
Stewart "Hoagie" Hoag's been in tight spots before, but never anything like this. The police and the press are all over him, and a multiple murderer is using him as a go-between. Then, as if things weren't bad enough, it begins to dawn on Hoagie that the Answer Man may in fact be someone he knows - his oldest friend in the world. What he doesn't know is what he's going to do about it - except try to stay alive!
Benji Golden works in his family’s struggling mom-and-pop business above a 24-hour diner on Broadway and 103rd Street. Golden Legal Services, a private detective agency, was started by Benji’s hero-cop father. The business is now run by Benji’s mother, who used to be the only Jewish pole dancer in New York City, and is staffed by Lovely Rita, an eye-popping computer wizard and a former lap dancer. Baby-faced Benji - who is exactly one-quarter-inch shy of five foot six, weighs a buck thirty-seven, and answers to the nickname “Bunny” - specializes in tracking down teen runaways.
Lyle Hednut, known to America as Uncle Chubby, has been the top draw in television comedy for three seasons straight. He is three hundred pounds of good humor and wholesome charm, beloved by children and adults alike until the day the police find him enjoying the show at the wrong kind of movie theater in Times Square. The arrest destroys his image, but his sitcom is too popular for the network to shut down. About to start production on the fourth season, he decides to tell his side of the story, and hires Stewart Hoag - failed novelist and ghostwriter for the disgraced - to do the writing.
In Matthew Wax’s films, politicians are honest, parents are respected, and nice guys finish first. Wax has been Hollywood’s most beloved director for decades, and his personal life seemed as squeaky-clean as the world of his films. But when he and his wife, leading lady Pennyroyal Brim, file for divorce, the mud starts to fly. She accuses him of bedroom tyranny, sexual perversion, and every stripe of abuse. When she announces a tell-all memoir, Wax fires back the only way he can. He calls Stewart Hoag, ghostwriter to the stars.
"Slow slow slow"
Few American novels are as beloved as Alma Glaze’s Revolutionary War epic, Oh, Shenandoah. Although Glaze died before she could write a sequel, she left behind an outline for one, along with instructions that it not be written until 50 years after her death. The deadline has passed, and the American public clamors for the long-promised Sweet Land of Liberty. Only one thing stands in its way: Glaze’s heirs.