Slow to get going but increasingly involving, this lightweight adventure hinges on a contrived Robinson Crusoe update. Narrator Tom DeWinter, failed Hollywood writer, is in a sorry state: a big deal has fallen through; his ex-wife has the sheriff after him for back alimony; his car is in hock for repairs he can't pay for; he can't meet his rent; and he's getting the middle-thirties sag from a diet of donuts. But then Tom's agent Brundage introduces Tom to wealthy Max Hildendorf of Kansas City, who has a scheme for a bestseller that will also satisfy his obsession with Defoe's novel: Max will underwrite Tom's stay on a desert island for two years while Tom produces a masterpiece about isolation and man against nature. The bait: $100,000--the first 50 in the bank collecting interest while Tom writes. Tom finally agrees, and after a big goodbye to L.A. (a massage-parlor visit), he's blindfolded and flown to an unknown island--where he soon finds himself fighting storms that whip away his supplies and shelter. He's forced to learn to fish and climb for coconuts. And he must contend with surprise visitors--an adulterous Italian couple, dope smugglers (whom he manages to annihilate)--while building the first true love of his life. . . for a small dog named Sam. The years pass, Tom undergoes a physical and spiritual maturation, and by the time that Brundage returns for him (Max has died, along with that second $50,000), he no longer cares about the foul writing business. No great weight or excitement--but a fairly lively, offbeat slice of entertainment from the author of Losers, Weepers and Snake Eyes.