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Extended Audio Sample The Contortionist’s Handbook: A Novel, by Craig Clevenger Click for printable size audiobook cover
4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 4.00 (3,741 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Craig Clevenger Narrator: Ray Porter Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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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.

Download and start listening now!

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Quotes & Awards

  • “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)

Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Brian | 2/12/2014

    " I really liked the complexity of the book but the story did not seem to have enough conflict for my tastes. He is an excellent author and I would recommend this book to anyone that likes the transgressive genre. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Sheri | 1/14/2014

    " Very interesting. Good book to read if you're into forging documents, and changing your identity aver 6 months. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Mike | 12/16/2013

    " After overdosing on pain killers Daniel Fletcher is being interviewed by a psychiatrist in a hospital. The doctor is trying to determine whether or not the OD was an intentional suicide attempt. Through the interview you're given a glimpse into the life of Daniel Fletcher. Fletcher isn't his name, just one of the many identities he's taken over a long and strange life as a counterfieter and forger. This book shows that that price for parents and teachers and doctors not asking the right questions or not bothering to ask any at all is paid ultimately by their child charges. In this case that life is one on the fringes of society, of criminality and mostly of fear as the motivator for most decisions. An excellent insight into the mind of a truly unique character. Good job Adrienne (book recommendations all the way from the Carolinas are what makes MySpace worthwhile), thanks. I'll be looking for more from Clevenger now. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Sean Anthony | 12/4/2013

    " Another one of my new favorite authors. Pure awesome. Fast paced, witty, and raw. This book is what good fiction is all about, real life in its gritty forms, even if through a totally unique uncommon character. In the words of D.F. Wallace, real fiction, "About being a fucking human being". This is spot on, real fiction. "

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About the Author
Author 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.