TEARJERKER by Daniel Hayes

Publisher Graywolf, October 2004

Unhinged by years of rejection, an author plots a wild scheme to gain an editor’s undivided attention.

Until I bought one, I’d never touched a gun, never stood in front of a full-length mirror pointing a gun at myself. Bang, bang. Mine was a Magnum .357 purchased in New Jersey, much more svelte than I’d imagined a gun could be.

Evan Ulmer takes matters into his own hands after his writerly dreams of fame and recognition have stalled. He kidnaps a renowned editor, Robert Partnow, and cages him in a basement equipped with a TV, a treadmill, and a Porta-John. Evan shares his desperation with Bob, Bob reveals his own unsavory secrets, and together they watch the media spin this situation into a lurid tale of abduction and infidelity. Blurring the boundaries between fiction and real life, cunning and sincerity, flirtation and true love, Tearjerker unfolds in startling directions that make the reader wonder along with Evan, “Was abduction a difficult and gutsy endeavor or, instead, the predictable last resort of the desperately stupid?”

In this darkly humorous debut novel, Hayes explores the human reality behind the tabloid headlines and the pathos of failure and yearning in a culture of high-stakes celebrity.

"TEARJERKER is very funny, very well crafted, very sly in its insights. Daniel Hayes has a winner here: all the pleasures of a revenge novel, of meta-fiction, of a wicked roman a clef, and even of a love story. I devoured this book and have been thinking about it ever since."
-- Arthur Phillips, author of Prague and The Egyptologist

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