book cover of The Sellout

The Sellout

A novel by

Years of writing thoughtful, heartfelt literary fiction have brought Joe McElwee nothing but poverty and obscurity. Now his blockbuster formulaic thriller, full of mindless action and tired but proven tropes, has him on the verge of wealth and fame.

Not everyone is happy though. Joe's friend Veronica, a staunch supporter of his honest early work, criticizes him for selling out. Frustrated at his refusal to hear her concerns, she puts a curse on him, forcing him to live as a character inside the novel of an author he despises, the bestselling hack Niall Turner, who is the undisputed king of the detective-thriller genre.

McElwee wakes up in nineteen-forties Los Angeles to discover he's entered The Turnerverse, a world marked by two-dimensional characters, outdated stereotypes, gaping plot holes, and poor editing.

Worse yet, he's apparently just committed a murder. In short order, he has to figure out who he is, who his friends and enemies are, and how he fits into a universe that doesn't quite make sense. Along the way, he picks up a beautiful mistress, a femme fatale, an inept assassin, and a sinking sense of shame as he's forced to inhabit the kind of shoddy writing he's now producing.

"I brought you here," Veronica tells him, "to rub your nose in the Turnerverse, so you can see what you're becoming."

Will it be enough to save an honest writer? Or will the lure of wealth and fame be too much for Joe McElwee?
Genre: Mystery

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