From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
Clevenger's debut novel, The Contortionist's Handbook, was first published in 2002. It is the story of John Dolan Vincent, a prodigious forger who has been detained for a psychiatric interview following a near-fatal painkiller overdose. As the narrator bluffs his way through the interview in order to avoid being involuntarily institutionalized, he tells the reader his true story- the one he is not telling the psychiatrist- revealing both his past and the true nature of his circumstances. The Contortionist's Handbook has since been translated into four languages- German, Italian, Polish and Brazilian Portuguese- as well as published in the United Kingdom by HarperCollins. Several other translations are forthcoming, including Russian, Spanish and Japanese.
In 2005, Macadam/Cage released Clevenger's second novel, Dermaphoria, the diary of an amnesiac LSD chemist who becomes addicted to a drug which synthesizes the feeling of human touch. The film rights to Dermaphoria were optioned in October 2006 by independent producers Ross Clarke and Teryn Fogel. Film rights for The Contortionist's Handbook are for sale; Clevenger is represented by Jeff Aghassi of the Alpern Group in Los Angeles, California.
Clevenger lists among his influences Jim Thompson, James M. Cain, Edgar Allan Poe, Richard Matheson, Italo Calvino, Kobo Abe, Steve Erickson, Mark Danielewski, Will Christopher Baer, Seth Morgan, James Ellroy, Michael Hogan, John O'Brien, Michael Ventura and Rupert Thomson.