From Publishers Weekly
Clevenger's second novel (after 2002's The Contortionist's Handbook
) opens with a classic grabber: an amnesiac man awakes in jail with a woman's name—Desiree—on his lips. Prodded by a pushy police detective, that man (his name is Eric Ashworth, he's told) must sift through the contents of his drug-addled brain to explain his only memory: "A ball of fire rising from a flaming house. Nails melting like slivers of silent wax. Beams and shingles collapsing into a pile of burning dust...." Released on bail, Eric checks into a flophouse and attempts to separate his ongoing drug hallucinations from reality. To aid him in this quest he turns to the doubtful promise of yet another drug, a powerful hallucinogen known on the street as Skin, Cradle or Derma. Eric's trip toward understanding, as well as the reader's, twists through exotic visions that may or not be real. It's a long, painful process, but eventually Eric puts it all together and learns who he is—and the terrible thing that he's done. This is a sometimes brilliant, heavily stylized novel whose psychedelic prose and labyrinthine story line will enthrall some readers and enrage others. At one point Clevenger counsels both Eric and the reader: "Anything is possible and nothing is possible. They're the same thing." Yes, that's it exactly. (Oct.)
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...reminiscent of William Gibson's work, but Clevenger has his own attitude and a film-noirish literary style that is unique. -- San Francisco Chronicle, August 28, 2005
Clevengers trademark voice and pace are as good as ever, but the settings are his greatest triumph. -- Santa Barbara Independent, October 6, 2005
Dermaphoria advances Clevengers dark art, powerfully evoking the paranoia of a man attempting to reconstruct his life. -- San Francisco Magazine, November 2005
Gloriously shifty puzzle-fiction whose resolution is much less important than the kaleidoscopic journey towards it. -- Kirkus Reviews, August 15, 2005