The Contortionist’s Handbook: A Novel

By Craig Clevenger
Read by Ray Porter

6.67 Hours 12/01/2009 unabridged
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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.  Following a near fatal overdose of painkillers, Daniel Fletcher is resuscitated in a Los Angeles emergency room and detained for psychiatric evaluation. Through a series of questions and tests, the psychiatrist must ascertain whether the patient intended to kill himself or whether he can walk free. What the psychiatrist doesn’t know is that Daniel Fletcher is actually John “Johnny” Dolan Vincent, a brilliant young forger who continually changes his identity to save himself from a lifetime of incarceration. Johnny has done such assessments before—many, many times. As he creates an elaborate bluff for the evaluator, Johnny reveals the true story of his traumatic past: a broken family, descent into the sinister world of forgers and criminals, and his one chance of salvation in the beautiful and elusive Molly. But time is running out; as his underworld clients lose patience and the psychiatrist’s net closes around him, Johnny has to negotiate the escape act of his life. Evoking the boulevards and strip bars of 1980s Los Angeles with cinematic intensity, The Contortionist’s Handbook is a darkly hypnotic and stunningly original debut.

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Summary

Summary

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. 

Following a near fatal overdose of painkillers, Daniel Fletcher is resuscitated in a Los Angeles emergency room and detained for psychiatric evaluation. Through a series of questions and tests, the psychiatrist must ascertain whether the patient intended to kill himself or whether he can walk free. What the psychiatrist doesn’t know is that Daniel Fletcher is actually John “Johnny” Dolan Vincent, a brilliant young forger who continually changes his identity to save himself from a lifetime of incarceration. Johnny has done such assessments before—many, many times. As he creates an elaborate bluff for the evaluator, Johnny reveals the true story of his traumatic past: a broken family, descent into the sinister world of forgers and criminals, and his one chance of salvation in the beautiful and elusive Molly. But time is running out; as his underworld clients lose patience and the psychiatrist’s net closes around him, Johnny has to negotiate the escape act of his life.

Evoking the boulevards and strip bars of 1980s Los Angeles with cinematic intensity, The Contortionist’s Handbook is a darkly hypnotic and stunningly original debut.

Editorial Reviews

Editorial Reviews

“A remarkable debut.” Time Out New York
“Clevenger’s talent is revealed in his ability to create a true testament to the resilience of the human spirit.” USA Today
“Clevenger delivers images that sear themselves into your mind. The result is a novel that is hard, pure, remarkably accomplished.” Seattle Times
“Clevenger cleverly creates a modern-day Mr. Ripley.” Booklist
“Immaculately detailed and emotionally explosive: this is rolling, riveting stuff, of a piece with stylish, edgy movies like Memento and Requiem for a Dream.” Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

Reviews

Reviews

Author

Author Bio: Craig Clevenger

Craig Clevenger was born in Dallas, Texas, and raised in Southern California, where he studied English at California State University, Long Beach. He currently lives in San Francisco. Dermaphoria is Clevenger’s second novel, following 2003’s word-of-mouth phenomenon The Contortionist’s Handbook.

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Details

Details

Available Formats : Digital Download, Digital Rental, CD, MP3 CD
Category: Fiction
Runtime: 6.67
Audience: Adult
Language: English