In late August, a story broke about the careless handling of Social Security numbers, mailed out on the address labels of about a half-million California retirees, exposing all of those people to the greatly increased threat of identity theft. Identity theft is fairly common even without huge bureaucratic screw-ups, and T.C. Boyle’s latest novel, just out in paperback, shows the human face of that crime, from the points of view of both victims and perps. This novel comes to life immediately, vivified by the kinds of closely observed detail only our best writers manage to create. And T.C. Boyle is, without question, one of our best writers. Talk Talk is a story fueled by the vicarious anger almost any contemporary reader will surely bring to it, the kind of anger we all feel when we are caught up, innocently and helplessly. The underlying emotion harkens back to the feeling we once knew as children when we were wrongly accused of something another kid had done. Personally, I did not find the ending of the novel very satisfying, but it kept me avidly turning pages right up to that point. If you start this book, you’ll stay with it.