Evan Michael Tanner

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Evan Michael Tanner, or simply Tanner, is a fictional character created by American author Lawrence Block. Tanner appears in eight novels. Seven of those were published in the 5-year period 1966-1970; the eighth one appeared in 1998, after a 28-year gap.

Tanner is known to have fought in the Korean War, when his sleep center was destroyed by a stray piece of shrapnel, making him a permanent insomniac. As a result of his injury, he does not sleep, nor does he need to. He was most likely discharged after this incident, despite becoming an idea of the "perfect soldier"- one who is constantly awake.

Tanner's adventures take him across the world, and his is particularly devoted to "lost causes".[1]

Novel summaries[edit]

The Thief Who Couldn't Sleep[edit]

Tanner takes an avid interest in political causes, primarily the ones existing in the late 1960s, when the series first takes place. He is also very good at "coming across money", so when he meets a black-haired beauty whose Grandmother has fantastic tales of a fortune in European gold hidden under her front porch in a war-torn country, he embarks on a profitable journey. Though only intending to extract 573 pounds of pure gold, he accidentally starts a revolution in Macedonia, ends up in a Turkish jail, and gets hired by a government agency so secret that even the CIA has never heard of them.

The New Job[edit]

Tanner's new employer may have mistaken him as an informer to one of their dead agents, but that doesn't stop him from taking over the position and rising to become one of their best agents. As one of their men, he must "cancel" a Czech, smuggle 12 hot female Olympians, one princess, and a defector aboard a Soviet fighter plane to America, end a slavery ring, and rescue a cannibal named Jane from Africa.

From The 1970s To The 1990s[edit]

While meeting with a double crossing Scandinavian resistance operative, Tanner was incapacitated and cryogenically frozen, though not intended to be brought back. In 1997, his freezing machine was found within a secret chamber of a house being remodelled and repaired, with Tanner still inside. Due to new technology, doctors were able to reanimate a perfectly preserved Tanner, and he was let loose in modern-day New York City. When he came back home, he found that it was occupied by his adopted daughter, Minna, the rightful heir to the Lithuanian throne, now fully grown. He also finds that he still has a job with his old boss, even though he's been out of it for 25 years. His new assignment takes him to former Burma (now called Myanmar), and the deadly Orient, which he hasn't seen since the Korean War. To make things even more complicated, he has to bring back an exiled Russian beauty, overcome malaria, and get used to the new world.

Evan Tanner novels[edit]

  1. The Thief Who Couldn't Sleep (1966)
  2. The Canceled Czech (1966)
  3. Tanner's Twelve Swingers (1967)
  4. The Scoreless Thai (a.k.a. Two for Tanner) (1968)
  5. Tanner's Tiger (1968)
  6. Here Comes a Hero (1968) (a.k.a. Tanner's Virgin)
  7. Me Tanner, You Jane (1970)
  8. Tanner on Ice (1998)


  1. ^ Block, Lawrence (1979). Writing the Novel: From Plot to Print, Writer's Digest Books