When 25-year-old David Dornstein boarded Pan Am Flight 103 in 1988, he was thought to be carrying the genius debut novel he had toiled over for years. Then a bomb destroyed the plane over the Scottish town of Lockerbie. David’s younger brother, Ken (now an editor at Frontline), soon dedicated himself to completing that book from thousands of left-behind notebook pages. What emerges in The Boy Who Fell Out of the Sky is half an account of Ken’s life-halting obsession with reconstructing his mythical older brother and half the biography that David always expected as a soon-to-be-famous author. The thing is, the excerpts of David’s work that Ken quotes suggest that he wasn’t likely to make it as a great writer. Even so, Dornstein’s portrait is riveting for that very reason: It reveals the all-too-common flip side of the archetypal American success story.