3 out of 4 stars
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It's early 2008. A man awakens, not realizing who he is, how he ended up wrapped in bandages and tied to a bed or who the people in the fancy hospital are. Like any good mystery, the reader is as confused and worried as Matthias Callaghan III, and every interaction he has could be a lie. It doesn't take long for us to find out why his hands are so fully wrapped - he has no fingers. As if this isn't horrific enough, the worst surprise of all is to come - his face has been replaced by another's because his had been cut to shreds so severely it was unfixable. But what happened to Matthias and how will he recover as someone he doesn't even recognize in the mirror?
The Lost Identity Casualties has these mysteries to solve and so many more. Part mystery and part revenge story, there's a lot that happens in barely over 200 pages, and it's all woven together with interesting characters and a fantastic amount of creativity. The book is broken into two parts - the first, in which we learn not only of Callaghan's circumstances and past but also the pasts of several other important characters, and the second where Callaghan attempts his calculated revenge. Both parts are equally successful, with detailed characters whose histories I was actually excited to read about and revenge that was more than deserved. Various sections are broken up via dates, making the flow of events easier to follow, and in the first part of the book all of the present events are italicized.
In a book with so many characters, all with completely separate motives and wild pasts, it's usually easy to confuse characters. Even for someone as forgetful as I am, I rarely had trouble - characters actually felt different and names were never too similar - and the handy list of characters (and a sentence that helps the reader remember who they are, all categorized!) that precedes the book solved any issues I had. I counted up to 50 characters before giving up, and there are easily double that many, with characters from the entire Tetralogy. This is something I wish every book would do; it's such a little thing in concept but so helpful while reading. As an aside on characters, one of my favorite things in the book was snuck in - during one of the criminal's pasts, he deals with two people named Ronnie and Reggie Kray. These names sounded very familiar, so I Googled them and they're the criminal twins at the heart of the movie Legend. While Ronnie and Reggie are nonfictional criminals, and the book is entirely fictional, sneaking something from reality in like that was a fun addition even if they're barely mentioned over a page or two. I noticed, nice try to sneak that by me!
As I mentioned, The Lost Identity Casualties is part of a Tetralogy of books. As someone who enjoyed this first entry so much, I was so excited to find out all three of the other books are already available - nothing is worse than waiting to find out what's going to happen next! The Lost Identity Casualties wraps up well, it doesn't suffer from "this is a series, so none of the books are going to have a satisfying end" syndrome, but I'm still psyched to see what else can come from Callaghan's exploits.
No book is perfect, however, and The Lost Identity Casualties is no exception to the rule. There were typos every few pages or so, and while I was always excited to find out what would happen next, the book was missing that magical element that makes it impossible to resist. A 4 star book makes me miss it when I have to walk away, and that wasn't quite the case for me. That's not to say the book wasn't awesome, or that I don't absolutely recommend it, however; The Lost Identity Casualties is easily worthy of 3 out of 4 stars. Heck, if we rated out of 10, it would get a 9 - it takes a lot of skill to bring so many interesting characters together, explore their histories, build a great main character, plot out some wild revenge plots and watch what happens, all while making some fascinating points about the follies of greed and pride. This one genuinely feels not only like a book that folks should read, but one that could easily be discussed.
The Lost Identity Casualties
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