Friday, October 29, 2010

Friday Freebie: Andrew Klavan's "The Identity Man"

Congratulations to Eric Simpson, winner of last week's Friday Freebie, the complete set of Tim Sandlin's GroVont trilogy (Skipped Parts, Social Blunders, and Sorrow Floats).

This week's book giveaway is Andrew Klavan's new thriller, The Identity ManPublishers Weekly (pretty-much) liked it, giving the novel a starred review:
Edgar-winner Klavan's compelling thriller focuses on small- criminal John Shannon, who commits petty crimes, usually burglary, out of boredom as much as any need for financial gain.  When a job spins out of control and a man gets killed, Shannon goes on the run.  After receiving an enigmatic text message, Shannon is captured and taken to a laboratory where he's given a new face, a new name, and a new life, courtesy of the mysterious "identity man."  Shannon moves to an unnamed city that resembles New Orleans, where he finds work as a carpenter.  In a parallel plot, Lt. Brick Ramsey, a good cop gone bad, finds himself drawn deep into a local political struggle with fatal consequences.  How Klavan (Empire of Lies) merges the two plots and saves Shannon may confound some readers, but the inexorable pace and superior quality of the writing lift the story onto a level that feels almost mythic.
Here's a random chunk in which corrupt cop Ramsey confronts a bookkeeper named Patterson (not really a spoiler since it happens in the first chapter):
       Lieutenant Brick Ramsey killed Peter Patterson quickly and efficiently.  He grabbed the bookkeeper by the shoulder and thrust the blade of the combat knife deep between his ribs and into his heart, twisting it to sever the artery.  The two men were close together.  Ramsey could practically read the sequence of Peter Patterson's thoughts in his eyes.  Patterson was startled by Ramsey's sudden appearance but then, for a single instant, he tried to make sense of it, maybe figured he was the fed who'd been sent to meet him in the rain.  Then Ramsey jammed the knife in and Peter Patterson's eyes went wide in pain and bewilderment.  But before he died, the logic of it must have come to him because Ramsey could see that he understood.
       Peter Patterson tried to struggle free, but it was only a small instinctive motion.  He was already too weak and he knew he was finished, his lips moving in prayer.  Ramsey held him against the knife handle easily.  As Peter Patterson's knees buckled, Ramsey lowered the bookkeeper into the water and pressed down on the knife to force him beneath the surface.  Peter Patterson thrashed once before his final breath came bubbling out of him.  Then he sank to the bottom of the roiling flow.
If you want a chance to have a stab-free, drown-proofed copy of Klavan's new novel, all you have to do is answer this question:

How many times has Klavan won the Mystery Writers of America's Edgar Award?  (The answer can be found by visiting Klavan's website.  While there, you can sign up to win an iPad.)

To enter the Friday Freebie giveaway, e-mail your answer to

Put FRIDAY FREEBIE in the e-mail subject line.  One entry per person, please.  In order to give everyone a fair shake in the contest, please e-mail the answer, rather than posting it in the comments section.  The contest closes at midnight on Nov. 4, at which time I'll draw the winning name.  I'll announce the lucky reader on Nov. 5.

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