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The Identity Man

3.58  ·  Rating details ·  349 ratings  ·  77 reviews
An Otto Penzler Book
John Shannon is a petty thief on the run. A three-time loser framed for a murder he didn't commit, he knows the cops are closing in on him and that he's facing life in prison--or death by lethal injection. Then, as if out of nowhere, a bizarre text message draws him to a meeting in the dark of night. A foreigner who calls himself the Identity Man offer
Hardcover, 280 pages
Published November 11th 2010 by Houghton Mifflin (first published January 1st 2010)
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Average rating 3.58  · 
Rating details
 ·  349 ratings  ·  77 reviews

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Mike (the Paladin)
Oct 11, 2011 rated it really liked it
I could, if I allowed myself, get very involved about peripheral subjects that circulate around this book. I will try to avoid "most" of that. I will say that if (among other things) you're the kind of person who has an "Emperor's New Clothes" feeling whenever you watch the news coverage of governmental matters, you might appreciate this book.

This is a fairly well written book. It revolves around a couple of stories that intersect. The book opens with (and these aren't spoilers as you can get a
Carol Storm
Mar 17, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Explosive thriller, combines brutal violence, scorching social commentary, and a villain whose downfall is almost as inevitable and terrifying as a Greek tragedy!

One thing to bear in mind about Andrew Klavan is that he's really two people at once. There's the adrenalin junkie who loves violence and writes the meanest, tightest thrillers this side of James "LA Confidential" Ellroy, and the best gunfights this side of Stephen "Dirty White Boys" Hunter.

Then there's the really annoying Andrew Klava
Jul 05, 2019 rated it really liked it

Petty criminal John Shannon finds himself mixed up in big city politics, murder, and police corruption. Although a terrific thriller, The Identity Man also has a very tender and thoughtful theme woven throughout. The contrast of this gentleness in the midst of a violent, flood ravaged decaying urban area makes the suspense all the more intense.

It is a novel, a fantasy. A very enjoyable one.
Paul Holden
Aug 07, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wasn’t sure at first but it came together nicely. A slick thriller, both high concept and generic at the same time.
Jun 02, 2011 rated it liked it


Unspoken rules guide so much of life, and one such guideline is that polite people don't discuss politics or religion. Now, while I might disagree with that rule when it comes to dinner parties (where so much of the conversation is deadly dull), I have to admit that it generally holds true in narrative fiction. Most authors lack the panache or subtlety to address either subject without turning their stories into screeds. So when both show up in the
Jan 17, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime, mystery, 2012
This book took me ages to get into. It wasn't the plot (which was pretty adequate verging on interesting towards the end) and the writing is fine - it was easy to see how other people can like it and how it got all the nice reviews on the front cover. The characters, whilst nothing original (petty thief who is really a good guy, corrupt cops/politicians, FBI agents on an illegal mission, shady foreigner, teenage gangstas; a good, virtuous woman in a bad neighbourhood) were all OK: I can't really ...more
Pretty Elmore Leonard-ish story of a petty crook getting deeply involved with forces WAaaay beyond his control & offered a way out by change of ID...used by federal law enforcement to uncover political corruption our poor schmuck rises to the occasion & brings down the evil Klavan's politics as well as his tales! ...more
Actually there is nothing new under the sun. Most books are just a variation of the same themes and plot points. Andrew Klaven’s latest offering, THE IDENTITY MAN is no exception to this premise. The theme here is “wanted man (John Shannon) gets a new face and a new identity, is relocated to a new city (New Orleans……or its doppelganger) to begin life anew and meets the woman of his dreams”. Sound familiar so far?

What is different and compelling about Klaven’s approach to this subject matter is
Matt Allen
Jan 04, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2014-reads
The Identity Man isn't set up to be the kind of book I'd normally like, but I enjoyed it anyway. Quite a bit.

I love dialogue. If you've read a lot of my reviews, you've probably caught that somewhere. The first line of dialogue here isn't until you've read eight percent of this book. That's a long way for narrative to have the entire spotlight. I'm glad I didn't know that going in. Even after, dialogue isn't heavy in The Identity Man. There's a lot of inner monologue here, but strangely, it work
Oct 26, 2011 rated it really liked it
With all the brass and crass, shocking, etc. of style of reading, this was depravity that was truthful. Shannon the main character a two bit theif, who never thought of life being better is accused of murder when a robbery goes wrong. The story takes an unusal turn when he gets a text that someone is on is side. His life is changed or at least he hopes it is. I like the progression of this plot has it unfolds. He is looking for redemption but for what price. It seems in real life and a good stor ...more
Jonathan Scribner
Andrew Klavan's "The Identity Man" is a great mystery crime thriller. John Shannon, the main character, is a thief on the run away from the cops and the streets. He's a burglar that's been framed of murder, one he definitely didn't commit. He's facing life in prison if he gets caught. When all seems lost, he gets a message that changes his life forever. A foreigner who calls himself the identity man offers Shannon an incredible chance to start all over again: a new face and a new home. In a dest ...more
Tammy Wooding
Aug 05, 2016 marked it as books-i-have

A nationwide manhunt is underway for John Shannon, a petty criminal framed for murder. But he's convinced he won't get caught. He's hiding in the ruins of a city destroyed by a terrible flood, and, thanks to a mysterious foreigner calling himself the Identity Man, he has a new face, new papers, and a new life. But the city is crawling with corruption. Crooked politicians, gangsters and dirty cops are everywhere, and for some reason Shannon doesn't understand, all of them want him dead. John Shan

Dec 01, 2012 rated it really liked it
Can a man change his stars? Possibly, but not easily. John Shannon's odyssey begins with the concept of Identity as an indelible stain, corrupting any attempt to set out on a different course. In a hastily realized ending, he discovers that it is more like a block of wood that we shape throughout our lives. This is a realistic, but potentially daunting vision of Identity since it requires, not passive acquisition, but determined work and foresight. So how do we create a society that allows and e ...more
Ian Connel
Jan 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
Full disclosure: I am a big fan of Andrew Klavan's show. That said, I stopped reading Werewolf Cop because I got bored.

This book started a little slow, but when it built up the characters and you got into the head of Ramsey, oh boy. It became awesome. The protagonist is a tad vanilla, which is a plot device for him to "absorb" a new identity through culture (I won't give too much away) but he is largely believable as a male character.

I don't think Klavan writes women well. They're not nearly as
Hans Brienesse
Nov 25, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What a great read. Even though some of the action was a bit stretched at times at no time did the main character seem like a superhero. A lot of the scenarios could have actually happened especially in this modern day and age. Seemed to be to me a well thought out plot. A good rollicking read.
Dec 06, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2010
Interesingly written, grew to like the characters. One man's fall from grace and another man's search for redemption. ...more
Lynn Kearney
May 07, 2011 rated it it was ok
I should have been warned off by the blurb from Glenn Beck!
Nancy Moffett
May 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
Good fast read. Klavan's opinions are evident. He engineered a happy ending to a story that could have been tragic. I like that! ...more
Sep 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Excellent characterizations.
Angie Dolan
Mar 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Lisa, writing in 2015 here at Goodreads, states the following passage in The Identity Man needs editing....
"The last movie Shannon watched in the white room--the last DVD in the tomato can carton--was kind of stupid but kind of good, too. If anyone had been around while he was watching it, he would have said it was kind of stupid. But since it was just him sitting there, he had to admit, secretly he thought it was pretty good."(79)
Does it need editing ?
By reflecting an inept use of language and
May 03, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I stumbled across the book while looking through 'others read things like this' lists and recognized the author as one of the presenters on the Daily Wire. I like Klavan's speaking style and thought I'd try out his fiction work.
The writing was gripping and the main character was portrayed well. I could see and hear the action clearly, and the emotions felt real. It is the type of book that I would generally want to dig into over and over again to find something new and to get carried away on th
Apr 10, 2019 rated it liked it
“The Identity Man” fits under the thriller genre although there are some minor dystopian themes with end-of-the-world like flooding, rioting, and fires destroying a big part of some unnamed American city. The dystopian aspect gives the book a darker edge with scenes involving brutal gang violence, murder, and attempted rape. As such, these elements may be more than some readers want to take in. The author has some knowledge of the Bible, as there were some interesting side elements at play in re ...more
Jun 19, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: thriller
Klaven writes good action (but blah description). This one is about a cop who lost his way serving a corrupt politician. My gripe is the conclusion that all cops are corrupt and government is evil. I'm not buying it. Is Klavan an anarchist in the classic sense? I've read several of his now, and while the action is great for passing the time on a long flight, I'm tired of the politics. ...more
Dec 29, 2017 rated it liked it
An ok read. Written as if it was YA fiction. The description, dialog and plot were quite simple, and read like a morality lecture written in the thirties.
Edward Pissmeoff
Pretty good crime drama. Cliche characters, but a good story arc, with a few surprises. Entertaining, at the least.
Scott Marks
Jan 07, 2020 rated it did not like it
Terrible writing, clunky and childish. Plus the writer is a misogynist, anti-feminist and it comes across quite strongly in how he writes about women.
Red flags guys, avoid this novelists books.
Jessica Dusseault
Sep 06, 2017 rated it liked it
The story has two storylines that intersect later in the book. Two rogue cops are stalking bad guys, and maybe even good guys, in a city that was ravaged by a flood (New Orleans?). Most of the town has roving criminal gangs that do whatever they want. One of the cops kills a guy named Peterson for apparently no reason and then finds graffiti that states he killed Patterson. This makes him seethe with fury and he is anxious to find the person that knows he killed Patterson.

The other story centers
Starr Gardinier
Aug 09, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Andrew Klavan makes his readers believe it's possible to have a new life, to start over, to be a new 'mang' (man). Due to be incarcerated and possibly sentenced to death row for a third strike in his career as a petty thief and because of the accusation of multiple murders, John Shannon is given the opportunity many simply dream of. But from his peripheral vision and unacknowledged suspicions, Shannon knew it was too good to be true.

His new life, while pleasant in the beginning, unfolds into a
Stephen Gallup
Jul 31, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Klavan's Empire of Lies , which I read earlier this year, was a fine story of redemption. This novel is just as enjoyable. Perhaps it's a bit more polished. The woodworking metaphor is obvious, but that and the overall structure make the book feel like a classic.

Characters who wrestle with fundamental problems are so much easier to accept than superheroes like, say, Jack Reacher. In this case the main character, Shannon, is a basically good if unwise guy on the wrong side of the law who has b
Nov 19, 2010 rated it really liked it
Klavan is a great writer. I started with his book Empire of Lies and moved on to his YA series the Homelanders. He never disappoints when it comes to a gripping, gotta-get-to-the-end thriller. This novel is a powerful piece about identity (of course), redemption, choice, and corruption.

John Shannon is a petty crook, a lockman with a love for wood carving. He sees figures and faces in the wood and has to free them. After a routine break-in goes sour, he finds himself on the run, blamed for a home
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