The Plot by Jean Hanff Korelitz, 5 stars

I’m usually pretty careful about what I request on Netgalley. Because I want to read and review everything I request. And I only have so much time in the day. But when I saw The Plot available, and I realized it was the same author who wrote the book the HBO limited series, The Undoing, I was sold! Well, that and the fact that Stephen King called it, “insanely readable.” I mean to get that kind of endorsement you’ve got to be King’s best friend or the real deal (maybe both!)

Well and this one did bring back memories of James Frey. Poor, poor Million Little Pieces author. But should I feel sorry for him? IDK. All I know is that every single author I worked with would have given their left nut to go on Oprah and he did and it was amazing, until it wasn’t. Plagarism is no joke. But I think that there may be grey area too? I never thought that until I read…The Plot.

From the Publisher:

Jacob Finch Bonner was once a promising young novelist with a respectably published first book. Today, he’s teaching in a third-rate MFA program and struggling to maintain what’s left of his self-respect; he hasn’t written—let alone published—anything decent in years. When Evan Parker, his most arrogant student, announces he doesn’t need Jake’s help because the plot of his book in progress is a sure thing, Jake is prepared to dismiss the boast as typical amateur narcissism. But then . . . he hears the plot.

Jake returns to the downward trajectory of his own career and braces himself for the supernova publication of Evan Parker’s first novel: but it never comes. When he discovers that his former student has died, presumably without ever completing his book, Jake does what any self-respecting writer would do with a story like that—a story that absolutely needs to be told.

In a few short years, all of Evan Parker’s predictions have come true, but Jake is the author enjoying the wave. He is wealthy, famous, praised and read all over the world. But at the height of his glorious new life, an e-mail arrives, the first salvo in a terrifying, anonymous campaign: You are a thief, it says.

As Jake struggles to understand his antagonist and hide the truth from his readers and his publishers, he begins to learn more about his late student, and what he discovers both amazes and terrifies him. Who was Evan Parker, and how did he get the idea for his “sure thing” of a novel? What is the real story behind the plot, and who stole it from whom?

My Review:

Wow. Just wow. And I’ve had a string of not so wow books, so The Plot was very welcome. Jacob Finch Bonner is not a highly likeable character. And that doesn’t both me too much. But he really acts as if the world owes him something. He’s in somewhat of a sophomore slump so when he meets Evan Parker who is sure he is going to write a bestseller. He’s annoyed. And he has every right to be. Especially since he thinks Evan is right.

And when Jacob decides he’s going to write the book instead, the story really gets moving. And it seems like he’s gotten away with it for a while, until he hasn’t. And it’s clear he’s being blackmailed or worse?

The Plot brings up some really good questions. So many storylines are recycled. To me, I’m not sure that it was plagarism. But perhaps something is owed since it was a such a great idea? To prevent people from stealing their ideas, they get a trademark. And this idea clearly wasn’t. And the words were Jacob’s own….so?

Still, right or wrong, The Plot is a fantastic novel. It has intrigue, suspense, it’s compulsively readable and of course, it has some twists. Pick this one up, you won’t be disappointed. I’m also betting this one will be a movie or limited series at some point. It’s just that good.

Special thanks to Netgalley and Celadon books for an e-galley in exchange for my honest review. This one is out now! Get your copy:


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