When a would-be writer brandishing a bad novel accosts literary agent Jo Donovan, she writes it off as just another occupational hazard. A ridiculous figure in trench coat and fedora (Jo calls him Sam Spade, a nickname he readily accepts), he’d been rejected by the agency but persists in believing he’s destined to be a great writer and that Jo will be his muse. Scary, yes, but well within the realm of failedwriter madness. But when her agency and writers fall prey to vicious pranks, Jo senses something far more sinister than your run-of-the-mill egomaniac.
These attacks are accompanied by an implicit and repeated threat --- “Can you hear me now?” The police are called in, including detective Tommy Cullen, whom Jo had dated --- and dumped --- years before. With little evidence to work with, everyone is a suspect. Jo carries on bravely, minimizing the danger to herself, until a dear friend turns up dead.
As the police waste precious time investigating Jo herself, the real criminal remains at large, and Jo fears more of her friends may be in danger. Her staff and her writers rally around her, offering support and protection, but the tension is inescapable as the novel races to its dramatic conclusion.