Taglines: Writing a book is easy. Writing a best seller is murder.
The movie opens in 1972 as a group of gunmen wearing Richard Nixon Halloween masks steal evidence from a police evidence storage unit, killing several officers in the process. Officer Dennis Meechum (Brian Dennehy) is seriously wounded after stabbing one of the robbers. He survives and publishes a book titled Inside Job based on his experience. Years later, Meechum, who by now has become an acclaimed author and a much decorated Detective, is working on his next novel. He now suffers from writer’s block, and is a widowed father raising his daughter, Holly (Allison Balson).
On a case at the docks, a suspect runs as Meechum gives chase. A man named Cleve (James Woods) joins the chase. The suspect hides in an overhead crane and attempts to shoot Meechum, but Cleve kills the man, then mysteriously disappears. Cleve arranges a meeting with Meechum, and tries to convince to write a book about his history as a paid assassin for a corporate empire, Kappa International.
Cleve intimidates Kappa’s founder, David Madlock (Paul Shenar) about Meechum’s next book, and promises Meechum to show evidence to back up his claims. They proceed to take trips to New York and Texas where Cleve tries to convince Meechum of his history of hits. While they are in Texas, it is revealed that Cleve was the injured masked gunmen that Meechum had stabbed years earlier. Madlock, through his legal representatives, tries to bribe Meechum but fails.
Best Seller is a 1987 crime film written by Larry Cohen, directed by John Flynn and starring James Woods and Brian Dennehy. The film tells the story of Cleve (Woods), a career hitman, who wants to turn his life story into a book written by Dennis Meechum (Dennehy), a veteran police officer and best-selling author.
Best Seller (1987)
Directed by: John Flynn
Starring: James Woods, Brian Dennehy, Victoria Tennant, Allison Balson, Victoria Tennant, Paul Shenar, Anne Pitoniak, Mary Carver, Kathleen Lloyd
Screenplay by: Larry Cohen
Production Design by: Gene Rudolf
Cinematography by: Fred Murphy
Film Editing by: David Rosenbloom
Set Decoration by: Chris Butler
Art Direction by: Robert Howland
Music by: Jay Ferguson
Distributed by: Orion Pictures
Release Date: September 25, 1987