Joe Slade is a detective with a hot lead and a warm gun. He no longer believes in happy-ever-afters, but the jury's still out on plot twists. Good thing. He's about to discover the mother of all twists that will cure his doldrums like pliers to a toothache: Joe Slade is not real. He's the protagonist of a series of hardboiled mysteries. And when Joe finds out that all his strife has been in the name of boosting book sales, there will be hell to pay.
Vowing revenge on his author, he will band with the mysterious Ellodrine, a high fantasy wizard who suffers from reinterpretation. Together, they will set off for the World Where the Books Are Written. But the road will take them through new books with genres strange and foreign; epic fantasy, bodice-ripping romance, intergalactic sci-fi, and others even more dark and horrible. But what if this new life is about more than just living? And will Joe still come out on top when all the rules have changed?