"It was soon after I finished narrating the short audio of 'Bob Honey' that I began to feel I had only scratched the surface of this story I wanted to tell," Penn said in a statement issued Monday by Atria, an imprint of Simon & Schuster. "Expanding that original idea into a fully realized novel has been an exciting challenge."
According to Atria, Penn's "darkly humorous novel tells the picaresque story of Bob Honey, a middle-aged, divorced, disillusioned man living in a nondescript house on a nondescript street in Woodview, California. Bob Honey is a man of many trades — sewage specialist, purveyor of pyrotechnics, contract killer for a mysterious government agency that pays in small bills."
The Oscar-winning actor had told the audience gathered at the Los Angeles museum that he met Pariah at a Key West, Florida, bar in 1979. He said that his old acquaintance had gotten back in touch with him and sent a manuscript.
"I guess it was a connection to being 19 years old and wishing that I had stayed in touch with this guy," Penn said on his interest in the book, which he praised for its politics. "And yet, how concerning you should be that you agree with a sociopath."
Penn, whose off-screen adventures include interviews with Cuban President Raul Castro and an encounter with Mexican drug lord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman, is not the first movie star to become a fiction writer. Others include Kirk Douglas, Gene Hackman and Sidney Poitier.