The Bequest

by Mike Farris

From the Introduction:

In the wake of a series of flops, two-time Oscar-winning actress Teri Squire’s career is in a nosedive. She needs to find a great screenplay to fuel her comeback, but no working screenwriter wants to commit a masterpiece to someone who is box office poison. No one, that is, except a despondent and un-produced writer who bequeaths his last script to Teri in his will then plunges off a cliff along the Big Sur coastline of California. In desperation, Teri accepts the bequest—and discovers the script is brilliant. After turning it over to her production team, and with the hype surrounding the circumstances of the writer’s death, the movie is on target for a blockbuster opening weekend that promises to resurrect Teri’s career—until a mysterious stranger shows up at her doorstep and casts doubt on what really happened that night at Big Sur. As her comeback descends into chaos, Teri finds herself as the prime suspect in a bizarre murder.


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The Armchair Adventurer

What others are saying about The Bequest

“Another page-turning winner from Mike Farris. Once again, readers need to strap in tight as The Bequest thrusts them on a Mach 1 flight filled with white-knuckled suspense and dizzying plot twists.”

    -Patrick A. Davis, New York Times bestselling author of The General and The Passenger


"Wonderfully fast-paced and wildly unpredictable, The Bequest kept me turning the pages like crazy.”

    -Tess Gerritsen, New York Times bestselling author of Last to Die, a Rizzoli & Isles novel.


"The Bequest is full of twists and turns that will both surprise and delight.  You won't see this plot coming till it slaps you in the face.  If you're a fan of mysteries and thrillers, this is a book you need to read.  Get all the chores down before you start reading, because once you start, you won't want to stop."

    -William Bernhardt, best-selling author of the "Ben Kincaid" legal thrillers


"Looking for a distinct voice, perfectly drawn characters and astonishingly interesting plots? Pick up a Mike Farris novel and prepare for long nights and a wild ride. He'll throw in a few twists and turns just to keep you guessing right up to the very end. I have trouble putting his books down."

    -Robert Dugoni, New York Times bestselling author of The Jury Master


“The Bequest is the kind of thriller that grabs you by the collar, drags you to the precipice, and forces you to look into the abyss.  Clever plotting, nonstop action, and great characters make for a fun read.”

    -Sheldon Russell, author of The Hanging of Samuel Ash and The Insane Train


“I was pleasantly surprised by this book, well I think that is putting it a little lightly, I was stunned by this book. This is the first book by Mike Farris that I have read and it definitely won't be the last. This book follows Terri Squire as she is struggling to turn her acting career around. She is bequeathed a screenplay from a screenwriter who committed suicide. Terri ends up making the movie but finds herself the prime suspect when suspicions arise concerning the screenwriter's death.

At the beginning of the book I didn't really like Terri. I didn't feel much sympathy for her over her career trouble and I couldn't believe that she would let her agents come crawling back when the mysterious script showed up. As I read more of the book and Terri's past was revealed a bit more I started to like her and really feel bad for her.

There was so much that happened in this book, so much action. Just when I thought something else couldn't possibly happen to top the last mysterious death/shooting/chase scene something else would happen leaving me hanging on the edge of my seat. Everything kept building up towards an explosion at the end and let me tell you I was definitely not disappointed with the ending. I would highly recommend this book if you are looking for a lot of action and a lot of mystery.”

    – Denise Pappas, Book reviewer at


“New book discovery is the tonic this patient needed

Whether fighting a simple 24-hour flu virus or dealing with the subject of doctors who trade copies of hospital MRI reports before debating on whether a patient should remain housebound — and I have lived them both in the past couple months — I would wager that either a good movie or a brilliant new book is the patient’s best tonic.

There is no way anyone can convince me otherwise.

Ah, but how about the discovery of a book set in the world of movies and Hollywood? Could that fresh new author really pull this off?

After reading a new novel by Mike Farris called “The Bequest,” my guess is an enthusiastic yes, and for a good many reasons. In fact, Hollywood also may bid on this story.

The tale manages to be gripping even when barely believable. For example, Teri Squire, a young, beautiful actress, already having won more than one Academy Award, stars in a series of bombs. Nobody wants to buy what she is selling. Her new movie is another “Heaven’s Gate.” The press turns on her, labeling her box-office “poison.”

But get this: The agency holding her contract plans to dump it that very day. Her manager, also her lover, also plans to turn on her, in effect firing her on the same day.

This is the most ridiculous and unbelievable part of the book.

A two-time Oscar winner may be shunned, even ignored or moved to the back pages in the Los Angeles Times, but never is fired.

Farris simply wanted to move his new story into high gear quickly. So do it.

This new story is indeed intriguing, involving the last screenplay by a loser author. How much of a loser, you ask?

This author, Leland Crowell, never has sold a script. He planned for months to commit suicide by driving his car into the rocks along California’s Big Sur coastline.

And his lawyer and mother are made aware that, before he died, he bequeathed his final script to actress Teri Squire.

No one else can make the movie.

The press eats it up. So does a cynical public.

Yes, and so do Squires’ former representatives, who want her to return and make the movie — which they have not even read yet. Squire, however, is sickened by such dark publicity — well, at least until she picks it up out of her pile of rejects and reads it a couple of days later.

It turns out that “The Precipice” is about a serial killer involved with a counselor who happens to be a first class hypnotist.

She hands it over to her agency and work begins on everything behind the scenes.

Mind you, no one knows that Crowell’s lawyer committed suicide after learning that he had completed his assignment, convincing Squire that she owed it to this pathetic writer to make his movie.

Movies are not overnight projects. To his credit, Farris is extremely comfortable with words and descriptions. There are funny insults traded in the open by the California Highway Patrolmen and those working for the Beverly Hills Police.

But what the reader finds is a mystery thriller that goes far beyond the length of a simple motion picture. Farris has written an exciting venture that involves not only Crowell’s family, but secrets within Squire’s lineage, as well.

Will the movie remain on screen?


But “The Precipice” appears to be on the verge of making viewers discover mysterious nooks and crannies that may never be fully explained. At the very least, it becomes a crackerjack novel, overall.

It may not be perfect, but few will fault it as they close the book jacket and sigh in the wee hours of the night. After all, no one will want to put this story down; that much is for sure.”

    – William Kerns