GRIT AND GRAVEL. I hadn’t read anything of Andrew Klavan’s until this last weekend when I decided to give one of his crime novels a try. I struggled through The Identity Man, partially because I usually don’t read modern crime (give me Hercule Poirot any day) and partially because I hoped a friend's recommendation might hold true for Klavan's non-adolescent line.
The Identity Man is set in a fictional megalopolis of chaos and crime. For the cops, the criminal, or the gangster, the sin portrayed is too real, too gruesome, too depraved unless the intent is to show the Sodom and Gomorrah of our day. I naturally wondered if gruesome imagery was necessary to show the nature of evil. (Is it? Do bad guys have to curse exponentially for me the reader to recognize they’re bad?) The lead character, John Shannon, is neither protagonist nor antagonist; he doesn’t fit a “category.” He’s a gifted woodworker, but then he’s a petty criminal. He uses women then he doesn’t. He doesn’t want to kill anyone and then he does. The list could go on. Maybe John Shannon IS a dichotomy because he doesn’t easily mesh into a definition of flawed man.
I could say more but won’t in case there are other gritty souls out there willing to branch out. Simply put, this Klavan genre is not my taste.