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Starred Review. Edgar-winner Klavan's compelling thriller focuses on smalltime criminal John Shannon, who commits petty crimes, usually burglary, out of boredom as much as any need for financial gain. When a job spins out of control and a man gets killed, Shannon goes on the run. After receiving an enigmatic text message, Shannon is captured and taken to a laboratory where he's given a new face, a new name, and a new life, courtesy of the mysterious "identity man." Shannon moves to an unnamed city that resembles New Orleans, where he finds work as a carpenter. In a parallel plot, Lt. Brick Ramsey, a good cop gone bad, finds himself drawn deep into a local political struggle with fatal consequences. How Klavan (Empire of Lies) merges the two plots and saves Shannon may confound some readers, but the inexorable pace and superior quality of the writing lift the story onto a level that feels almost mythic. (Nov.) (c)
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Strongly political authors sometimes present readers with a problem: instead of simply following the story, they become distracted by subtext—by the black politician, for example, who cynically preaches the politics of hope as he ascends from a corrupt city to the national stage, his rise heralded by a brainless media. Then again, that kind of reading may be exactly what Klavan (Empire of Lies, 2008) intends. There are really two stories here: that of John Shannon, a thief framed for murder but given a second chance by a mysterious benefactor, and that of Lieutenant Brick Ramsey, a self-loathing stooge for the aforementioned politician, serving in a city ruined by flood and riot. Klavan builds slow-burning tension like nobody’s business, and Shannon’s struggle to redeem himself is powerful and compelling. But this noir-tinted tale upends the conventions of that genre: instead of noir’s existentialism, where little people are crushed by unfeeling bureaucracy, in Klavan’s world the bloodthirsty bureaucracy actively wants to crush the little guy. Klavan’s world is dark, indeed, and not everyone will want to visit. --Keir GraffSee all Editorial Reviews
I may not agree with Klavan's (conservative) viewpoint but I know sheer brilliance when I see it. For his writing skills alone this is worth reading. Read morePublished 8 months ago by antaeaventura
Highly recommended psychological thriller, to those who don't mind a bit of severe brutality on the side. Read morePublished 15 months ago by J. Haggar
The Identity Man is a thriller. Its plot is driven by constant action, driven by unknown forces. John Shannon finds himself wanted for a crime he didn't commit, and is presented... Read morePublished on July 30, 2013 by James Korsmo
Andrew Klavan gets the human mind. He digs into the human soul and he can develop a character's thoughts like few other authors can. Read morePublished on July 18, 2013 by Hank Emery
I love Andrew Klavan.
I would anything he would write,
All of his books have gripping plots and twists that hold your attention.
This is a good page turner, an easy summer read. Some of the political views of the author are somewhat subtly embedded: uselessness at best, corruption at worst, of most... Read morePublished on January 27, 2013 by G. Weinstein
Not very interesting, quite contrived, often preachy. I expected more but did not get it. I would not recommend it.Published on November 23, 2012 by Clifton B. Chadwick
Synopsis: John Shannon is a petty thief on the run. A three-time loser framed for a murder he didn't commit, he knows the cops are closing in on him and that he's facing life in... Read morePublished on March 15, 2012 by K. Sozaeva