Author(s): Craig Clevenger
This is a stunning novel about a brilliant young forger, who continually reinvents himself to escape the authorities. 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 LA with cinematic intensity, The Contortionist's Handbook is a darkly hypnotic and stunningly original debut. First published 2003; this edition with PS section 2006.