After the death of his father, a literature professor is drawn into the murder investigation of a bookstore owner...
Though Don and his father both love books, their tastes couldn't be more different. Don is a scholar, and his father reads nothing but schlock. His house is full of dime paperbacks, battered thrillers, and case after case of western novels, none of which his son could ever bear to read.
At his father's funeral, Don is approached by a strange man, a rare book dealer named Lou Caledonia. Don assumes the man wants to buy his dad's old westerns, but Lou explains that something far more important is on the line. Don finds the cramped confines of Lou's used bookstore immensely comforting, but a surprise waits for him downstairs. Caledonia has been shot dead, and Don is in danger, too. The boy who was too smart to read pulp fiction is about to find himself trapped in a thriller of his own.