Rated Reads

The Thieves of Manhattan

by Adam Langer

Rated: High

Ian Minot has been trying to get his writing published for years. He works in a coffee shop while he submits query letters and goes to readings, and he slowly gets more and more annoyed. Ian is particularly angry about a memoir that’s just been published to great acclaim but which is clearly a fake. He starts to notice a well-dressed man sitting in his coffee shop reading the fake memoir on a regular basis, but it’s only after a series of particularly infuriating events that Ian and the “confident man” become acquainted.

Ian then gets drawn into a con scheme designed to humiliate certain big players in the publishing world. The “confident man” has been trying to get a thriller published but has been rejected time and again. So he asks Ian to take over the book and pose as its author — and claim that the book is a memoir. Once it has been published and gotten loads of attention, Ian can expose it for the fake that it is, embarrassing the agents and editors who had rejected the real author in the first place, and allowing Ian to publish his short stories at last thanks to his own notoriety. Naturally, the whole scheme ends up going in unexpected, even dangerous, directions and getting out of Ian’s control.

The Thieves of Manhattan effectively skewers the publishing industry with its examination of fakery and countless references to authors, editors, agents, publishers, and infamous frauds. It can be funny and, for those who have ever tried to get a book published, sometimes unnerving. Adam Langer has crafted a clever novel that combines elements of satire, caper and thriller into one amusingly outrageous whole.

Rated: High, for about a dozen uses of strong language and some mild and moderate language. There are a few sexual references, but no details.

— Reviewed by Cathy Carmode Lim

Cathy Carmode Lim has been reviewing books for newspapers for about 20 years, two of which she was a book page editor. She founded Rated Reads in January 2008.

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  • The Thieves of Manhattan
  • by Adam Langer
  • Rated: High
  • Genre: Fiction
  • Reviewer: