John Shannon is on the run, facing life in prison or death by lethal injection. Then, a bizarre text message draws him to a meeting in the dark of night. A foreigner who calls himself the Identity Man offers Shannon an incredible chance to start again: a new face, a new home, a new beginning.
Soon Shannon is living a life he never dreamed possible. In a ruined city that is trying to rebuild, he finds work as a carpenter and a wood carver. He falls in love. But just as Shannon is within sight of redemption, all hell breaks loose.
It turns out the city is crawling with corruption. There are crooked politicians, gangsters, dirty cops everywhere—and all of them seem to want Shannon dead. Moving through the darkness in the burnt-out shambles of a dirty town, he's got to ferret out the secret of his new life.
©2010 Andrew Klavan (P)2010 AudioGO
I like alot of the mystery writers, John Sanford, Nelson Demille, Robert Parker, but when it comes to suspense and intrique Andrew Klavan is the best. He's also a great narrator.
Andrew Klavan tells a ripping yarn about a smalltime hood who is seemingly given a new face and a new chance to start his life over, but is actually being used by unseen forces for their own deadly ends. Set against the backdrop of an unnamed city deep in urban decay (sort of post-Katrina New Orleans, but not named as such), it manages to merge elements of thriller, mystery, and political intrigue into a mix that's somewhere between The Wire and 3 Days of the Condor, and comes off as one of the freshest novels I've listened to all year.
On the narration: Klavan's voice is spot on (for all but the female parts), and if he weren't such a darned good writer, I'd suggest a career as a book narrator. A real pleasure to listen to.
I was not for sure what to expect when I picked up The Identity Man. This is my first Andrew Klavan novel. However, in the end, I'm glad that I finished it. It was a very well done thriller. One thing I liked about the layout of the book is the fact that even though it was told in third person, the narrator knew what was going on in everyone's head and allowed the listener to gain access. The narrator was not some random ghost that was just reciting some facts, but actually telling a story filled with the emotions and thoughts of the characters. The pace of the book was a nice touch as well, filled with plenty of action to keep the listener entertained, but still did not leave out the story aspect. It also did not drag in the slow parts, like when Shannon was adjusting into his new life. The book kept the appropriate speed for the different types of scenes. It also ended nicely, cleaning up every loose end.
As for the narrator, I was a little worried that the author was going to be doing the reading. I figured that it would not be that good as some of the more professional narrators. I was completely surprised when I actually started to listen to the book. Klavan is an excellent narrator. I loved how he was able to so many different types of voices and how easy it was to tell each character apart. His female voices weren't that bad either, though when he voiced the little boy Michael, it was a bit overdone at times. Besides that little nick-pick, I found Klavan wonderful to listen to.
Overall, this was a book great story with strong narration, probably one of the strongest I have heard in a while. I really enjoyed this book and I might have to get some more of Klavan's books in the future, especially if his specialty is thrillers.
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