Andrew Klavan Writes Thillers for Our Age—and for All Ages

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Clocking in at a mere 280 pages, Identity Man is the kind of brisk, tight storytelling that the masters of the suspense like Cornell Woolrich or John D. MacDonald used to write– before publishers got the idea they could charge more for a 400-plus page opus.

Identity Man is chock full of surprises, and it’s hard to give a flavor of the book without giving too much away.  I’ve said enough.  Just read it.

The Truth of the Matter

Hands down, the best “young adult” series going right now is Klavan’s Homelander collection.  Aimed at the teen audience, they can best be described as a patriotic, generically Christian, mix of Memento, 24, and The Fugitive.   It is the best young adult series to not feature magic, fantasy, or dead parents since Brains Benton.  (Yes, that’s what I said, not Hardy Boys, or The Three Investigators–look it up.)

The series stars high school senior Charlie West, a karate enthusiast with a goal to attend the Air Force Academy, who wakes up being tortured by homegrown Islamist terrorists with a year missing from his memory and no idea how he got into this situation.

The previous two books (which you simply must read before this one) have Charlie trying to piece the story together while on the run from both the terrorist group– the Homelanders– and the cops who think he murdered his best friend.

In volume three, The Truth of the Matter, (Nelson, $14.99) Charlie gets a lot of his answers, but they come to him in a most unpleasant and dangerous manner.  He finally discovers how he got into this fine mess, and who his allies in the authorities might be.  But once he gets his answers, what to do about it becomes an even tougher question…

Once again, Charlie is on the run, but Klavan has, so far, ingeniously kept the books from seeming all the same by revealing the back story at just the right pace, and by varying just who is closing in on him.

Saying too much about The Truth of the Matter would spoil three books, not just one, so I will leave it at that.  Let’s just say if you are tired of the usual wimpy, politically correct, and depressing worldview that seems to win Newberry Awards, then the Homelander series is the perfect antidote.

And after you read Klavan’s fiction for grown-ups, and your kids have read Homelanders, check out this series for yourself.  It’s far more suspenseful than the “adult” fare being cranked out by hack bestselling brand names like James Patterson or David Baldacci.

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  • guest

    Can you tell me if the "Homelander" series has any sex in it? My 12 year old daughter enjoys a great mystery/thriller (Patterson's recent "Angel/Devil" and the ones about the flying genetic experiment kids among her recent titles) but I just refuse to permit her to read a bunch of gratuitous non-sense because "sex sells" and there's "nothing better to read." I, myself, love Gregory Maguire's retelling of classic fairy tales from the antagonist's point of view – great reads but a little too mature. Whatever happened to these types of stories that "keep you guessing?" (Detested the "teen vampire" series and didn't let her read beyond the 2nd one.) Studies show that introduction of "steamy subjects" can/will actually hinder intellectual development if introduced too soon. Nancy Drew is too "tame" and others too smutty…