The Thieves of Manhattan

Publisher Spiegel & Grau, July 2010

Adam Langer, the wickedly funny author of the novels Crossing California, The Washington Story, and Ellington Boulevard, has written a book that is at once a comical literary caper, an exploration of authenticity and fakery, and a tribute to books. THE THIEVES OF MANHATTAN is a novel that examines the lengths some writers will go to succeed.

Aspiring writer, penniless barista, and self-described sullen mope, Ian Minot is perturbed by the literary success of his Romanian girlfriend. His annoyance turns to rage as he sees what he believes to be a fabricated memoir by two-bit thug and music business hanger-on, Blade Markham, shoot to the top of the bestseller list. Ian proves to be an easy mark for Jed Roth, a suave book editor with an ingenious and nefarious plan: if Ian revises a thriller Jed wrote years ago and gets it published as his own memoir, they’ll both have a platform from which to humiliate Blade Markham’s agent and publisher and Ian will finally be able to find a publisher for his own short fiction.

As Ian rewrites and shops around his “memoir,” he finds himself facing a myriad of challenges, adversaries, and curiosities (on the page and off), including a hooligan librarian, a foul-mouthed manuscript appraiser, a members-only library and a priceless copy of the world’s first novel. As his elaborate hoax progresses, Ian finds himself wrapped up in the hypocrisies of a culture that values success above all and realizes the ways in which fact and fiction are inexorably intertwined. With cameos by real-life denizens of the publishing world and dozens of entertaining literary references, THE THIEVES OF MANHATTAN is an original, hilarious and provocative novel.

“Adam Langer’s Thieves of Manhattan is a gleeful addition to the caper canon, a richly twisted narrative that jauntily skewers the publishing business with its bizarre assortment of characters. Along its merry way, it also explores the all important – (and seemingly nonexistent) distinction between fake memoirs and real novels…”
— Nicholas Meyer, The Seven Percent Solution

“I loved this book – it’s both laugh-aloud funny and satisfyingly snarky about the state of publishing these days…a delight to read.”
— Nancy Pearl,  Book Lust

“A page-turning thriller, a lacerating lampoon of the literary life, and a powerful tribute to the art and craft of fakery. Adam Langer’s caper of con artists, thug librarians, and fraudulent memoirs moves into that area of truth to which all writers aspire.”
— Clifford Irving, The Hoax, The Autobiography of Howard Hughes

“It’s a rare literary novel that can stand up to the rigors of 6 hours sandwiched in coach between a shrieking newborn and a gentleman hacking up at least one of his lungs. The Thieves of Manhattan, Adam Langer’s latest wise and wonderful romp, did the trick splendidly. So splendidly, in fact, that I’d recommend it even to those who plan to travel no farther than their armchairs.”
— Ayelet Waldman, Bad Mother, Red Hook Road

“Once again the power of memoir takes us to places that fiction dares not tread. Bold brave worrying work from a wonderful wunderkind!”
— Laura Albert AKA JT LeRoy

“THE THIEVES OF MANHATTAN is a sly and cutting riff on the book-publishing world that is quite funny unless you happen to be an author, in which case the novel will make you consider a more sensible profession — like being a rodeo clown, for example, or a crab-fisherman in the Bering Sea.”
— Carl HiaasenFlush, The Downhill Lie

“Adam Langer is that rare combination of a writer. He has a sharp eye to details and explores human relations with keen insight and wry humor, and at the same time shows profound compassion to our fragile existences and longings. The Thieves of Manhattan flashes with powerful observations about the world of publishing and is a triumph on every level, an absorbing story throbbing with energy and intellect.”
— Elif Shafak, The Bastard of Istanbul, The Forty Rules of Love

The Thieves of Manhattan