The Contortionist's Handbook

  • by Craig Clevenger
  • Narrated by Ray Porter
  • 6 hrs and 43 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

John Dolan Vincent was born with an extra ring finger on one hand. He was an abnormally gifted child with a proclivity for mathematics beyond his years, but he lacked social skills. Childhood ridicule and a difficult family life led him to use his talents in adulthood for criminal acts of forgery. When he starts getting untreatable migraines, his self-medication results in overdosing which sends him repeatedly to the emergency room. There, he risks being institutionalized as suicidal, so he draws upon his forgery skills to reinvent a new identity for himself each time. Identity theft, drugs, and crime drag his life into a downward spiral. His clients in the L.A. underworld lose patience, the hospital evaluator might not be fooled by his story, and the only person in as much danger as himself is the woman who knows his real name.


What the Critics Say

Clevenger has produced an utterly persuasive and compelling novel, combining the zest and enthusiasm of a new voice with the craft and the guile of a veteran. The movie is in production with Das Films for release in 2011.
"Clevenger cleverly creates a modern-day Mr. Ripley." - (Booklist)
"[A] remarkable debut." (Time Out New York)


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

I am Jack's utter lack of imagination

I enjoy Palahniuk's work so I should be the target audience for this book. The author has cribbed CP's style but there isn't much else going on here. If you are in the mood to be lectured by another hipster, bad boy savant with substance abuse problems for a few hours, have at it. The book is dull and aimless but the real crime is the pedantic tone which Ray Porter takes every opportunity to underscore with a snide, heavy handed reading. The bulk of the tale is given over to detailed descriptions of how to change your identity; the book might have been salvaged if the protagonist had some original or clever tricks to teach us. If you are looking for something in this vein try CP's Salvation - it is underrated.
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- Aaron

Excellent but short

There are book you finish reading and say "that was really good" and there are books you finish and say "that was really good...I have to tell people." This book is the latter.
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- Jarrod

Book Details

  • Release Date: 12-11-2009
  • Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.