Taxi from the Afterlife: Why Two Men Vowed to Publish Their Dead Friend's Books

by Samantha Lien


For most writers, trying to write and trying to get published is like balancing on a fence. Many of them fall off—and some of them never climb back on. Those trapped on one side of the fence may write one book and spend the next 20 years trying to get it published, missing out in the meantime on opportunities to improve their craft. Or in even rarer instances, things could go the other way, and the writer could complete 20 books in that time, getting better and better while letting the chance at publication slip farther and farther away.

That’s more or less what happened with Denver writer Gary Reilly. A Vietnam veteran who attended the University of Colorado before becoming a taxi driver, he always wanted to be a writer and logged the hard hours to ensure he became one. What he didn’t do, or at least not very well, was promote himself. When he died at the age of 61 in 2011, he had a trunk full of unpublished manuscripts. His friends, who believed in his talent, vowed to publish those books.

All of those books.

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