So you are bored with your girlfriend and want to break up but surprise: she confesses she has been cheating on you with her work “friend.”
Poor Harry Gnostopolos is having a bad time of it. And his girlfriend’s betrayal is just the start.
Shortly thereafter, he reconnects with his friend, Jackson Halifax, a writer who hit the big time and then disappeared from the literary scene. Harry finds out that Jackson, in the couple of decades since they last met, has owned and operated a winery and also been a boxer. Oh, and in addition, he commits odd crimes, big and small, for a mysterious Madame X who leaves cryptic instructions.
He — as well as we the readers — wonders if indeed he is telling the truth or if his tales spring from his creative mind.
Harry, who has made one film in his youth, is coming to grips with the fate of his failing old-yet-charming movie theater, which his accountant warns repeatedly, is going under. It is at this juncture that Jackson presents Harry with a cerebral offer that he can’t refuse: commit a huge crime and then make enough money to keep the theater going and possibly make a life with a new partner, Nadine, a gorgeous émigrée who is as fascinated with the Beats as Harry is.
Harry is almost relieved that his long-term partner confesses that she has cheated on him; now he can devote himself to chasing this mysterious woman without suffering from pangs of guilt.