Mickey King (Caine) is a writer of cheap paperback detective novels, living in Rome churning out one noir book after another. When is offered an abnormally large sum to ghost write the autobiography of a mystery celebrity, the intrigued author agrees and is transported to a remote island.
The subject is none other than Preston Gilbert (Rooney), a one-time movie star known for playing gangsters, notoriously hanging out with real-life mobsters off the set. Now dying of cancer, Gilbert wants King to take down his life story before he dies. However, when the star is apparently murdered, leaving King with no conclusion to his tale, he must play detective like the heroes of his stories to piece together the mystery…
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