The Contortionist's Handbook by Craig Clevenger

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Synopsis

The Contortionist's Handbook is the story of John Dolan Vincent, an abnromally gifted child with a prclivity for mathematics beyond his years. However, he also bears a rare deformity—polydactylism—and his genius is counterbalanced by a near absence of social skills and episodes of severe migraines.

As an adult his migraines occur with alarming regularity, and his repeated attempts at self-medication send him over and over to the emergency room. He knows that to visit twice is to risk being institutionalized as a suicide risk. So, following each trip to the hospital, he draws upon his skill as a petty forger, and reinvents a new identity for himself.

The Contortionist's Handbook is about the lengths people will go to in order to protect themselves from others and ultimately from themselves.

 

About Craig Clevenger

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Craig Clevenger was born in Dallas, Texas, and raised in Southern California, where he studied English at California State University, Long Beach. He has traveled extensively and lived in Dublin and London. Disillusioned, he resigned from the high-tech industry to pursue a writing career. He currently resides in Santa Barbara, California, where he is at work on his second novel.
 
Published September 1, 2002 by MacAdam/Cage. 199 pages
Genres: Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Literature & Fiction, Crime. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Contortionist's Handbook

Kirkus Reviews

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He knows the drill, but he also has another advantage—as far as his minders know, he’s Daniel John Fletcher.

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The Guardian

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The Contortionist's Handbook by Craig Clevenger 208pp, Fourth Estate, £10.99 The term "cult" is liberally applied to novels, but can have myriad meanings.

Apr 16 2005 | Read Full Review of The Contortionist's Handbook

Publishers Weekly

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some tense early scenes pit protagonist John Dolan Vincent against a psychiatrist known as "The Evaluator," who probes Vincent's psyche to see if his recent overdose of muscle relaxants was really a botched attempt to cure his migraine, as Vincent claims, or a suicide attempt.

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Red Room

After years of dead-end jobs and publishers’ rejections, he stumbled into the pre-dot.com tech world where he spent the next decade paying his rent on time, eating regularly and not...

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Reviews St. Louis

underworld lose patience, the hospital evaluator may not be fooled by his story, and the only person in as much danger as himself is the woman who knows his real name.” The film is a co-production between GreeneStreet Films and Sidney Kimmel Entertainment, and DAS Films.

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Michael Manley 19 Aug 2013

Rated the book as 3 out of 5