This book will make you think twice about opening any e-mail attachment! At the heart of this intriguing novel is identity theft and the seemingly unrelated lives of three people that unwittingly become involved in it. Miles Cheshire longs to get on with his life, but feels he can never fully accomplish this until he finds his twin brother Hayden, the “evil” twin. Hayden, who has been missing for ten years, does not want to be found. He has covertly moved from place to place, deftly covering his tracks along the way, and taking on new identities and new lives as he goes.
Recent high school graduate and newly orphaned, Lucy Lattimore escapes her small hometown with her charming former history teacher George Orson. They arrive in Nebraska, in the middle of nowhere, at a long-deserted motel next to a dried-up reservoir, to figure out the next move on their path to a new life. But Lucy soon finds herself involved in a dangerous embezzling scheme.
My whole life is a lie, thinks Ryan Schuyler, who has recently learned the man he thought was his uncle Jay is actually his birth father. In response, he walks off the Northwestern University campus, hops on a bus, and breaks loose from his meaningless existence. Presumed dead, Ryan decides to hook up with the man he thinks is his father and ends up helping him run identity-theft scams.
The author deftly intertwines these story lines until you start to pick up on subtle connections between the three characters, the shedding of the identities they once had and the surreal identities and existences they take on. The real villain of the book is pursued by dangerous Russians who he has stolen credit card numbers and large sums of money from, and another very angry individual who did three years in jail for being wrongfully accused of embezzling money from his employer. By the end of the book, the reader is not sure who is real and who is fake because what you assumed was a sequential timeline becomes very blurred. Chaon has the gift of giving his novel a thriller quality with haunting undertones that leaves his characters ghost-like.