Review of The Book Of Lies by Brad Meltzer

February 7, 2009 by · 2 Comments
Filed under: Reviews 

Aural Noir: Review

Book Of Lies by Brad MeltzerThe Book Of Lies
By Brad Meltzer; Read by Scott Brick
10 CDs – Approx. 11.5 Hours [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Hachette Audio
Published: September 2008
ISBN: 9781600243806
Themes: / Crime / Thriller / Murder / Superman / Florida / Cleveland / Secret Cult /

Cain kills Abel in Chapter Four of the Bible. It is the world’s most famous murder. But the Bible is silent about one key detail: the weapon Cain used to kill his brother. That weapon is still lost to history. In 1932, Mitchell Siegel was killed by three gunshots to his chest. While mourning, his son dreamed of a bulletproof man and created the world’s greatest hero: Superman. And like Cain’s murder weapon, the gun used in this unsolved murder has never been found. Until now. Today in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Cal Harper comes face-to-face with his family’s greatest secret: his long-lost father, who’s been shot with a gun that traces back to Michell Siegel’s 1932 murder. But before Cal can ask a single question, he and his father are attacked by a ruthless killer tattooed with the anicent markings of Cain. And so begins the chase for the world’s first murder weapon. What does Cain, history’s greatest villain, have to do with Superman, the world’s greatest hero? And what do two murders, committed thousands of years apart, have in common?

Brad Meltzer has based his novel on two seemingly unconnected ideas – the biblical tale of Cain and Abel and the comic book hero Superman, created by Jerry Siegel. Meltzer has his work cut out for him, with research dating back to the origins of the bible, 19th century Europe, 20th century Cleveland, a historical secret cult, and the workings of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement service. Despite these obstacles it feels as though every chapter of The Book Of Lies is based on hard researched truths. The Book Of Lies is pure fiction, but there’s a whole lot of historical fact informing it. When it comes down to a final analysis however the connections that are made are bridged by a rather unlikely global conspiracy. Despite this, I was kept guessing as to what would happen next all the way through, and there were plenty of genuine surprises, clever analogies and explanations throughout. The final revelation made the whole novel extremely worthwhile – it made sense, and makes sense – and given the preposterousness of the premises that’s no small feat.

For fans of Superman The Book Of Lies is a must read. Those interested in comic book history will also find much value here. The main thrust of the entertainment however is the thriller aspect of the writing, offering what is essentially a pop culture version of The DaVinci Code or National Treasure. The Book Of Lies feels as if it was a challenge Meltzer gave to himself, saying: “If I can do this, if I can write this, then I can write anything.” I’m a believer now, and I’m willing to admit, I’ll follow along, Metzler’s proved something here.

Narrator Scott Brick was a little over-dramatic in some of his line deliveries but put in an otherwise very serviceable narration. Disc 10 of this audiobook has a 12 page PDF featuring images from the paperbook. I’ve never seen anything exactly like this done for an audiobook before. The text, and Scott Brick’s narration of the text describing these images, fully illustrated the way these important images fit together while I was listening, but it was a nice extra to see anyway.

Posted by Jesse Willis

Recent Arrivals – Blish, Resnick, Metzler, Westlake

January 29, 2009 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Recent Arrivals 

SFFaudio Recent Arrivals

Audible Frontiers - A Case of Conscience by James BlishA Case Of Conscience
By James Blish; Read by Jay Snyder
Audible Download – 7 Hours 55 Muinutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Audible Frontiers
Published: November 2008
Father Ruiz-Sanchez is a dedicated man – a priest who is also a scientist, and a scientist who is also a human being. He has found no insoluble conflicts in his beliefs or his ethics…until he is sent to Lithia. There he comes upon a race of aliens who are admirable in every way except for their total reliance on cold reason; they are incapable of faith or belief.Confronted with a profound scientific riddle and ethical quandary, Father Ruiz-Sanchez soon finds himself torn between the teachings of his faith, the teachings of his science, and the inner promptings of his humanity. There is only one solution: He must accept an ancient and unforgivable heresy -and risk the futures of both worlds…

Audible Frontiers - Starship: Rebel, Book 4 by Mike ResickStarship: Rebel
By Mike Resnick; Read by Jonathan Davis
Audible Download – 8 Hours 45 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Audible Frontiers
Published: December 16th 2008
The date is 1968 of the Galactic Era, almost three thousand years from now. The Republic, dominated by the human race, is in the midst of an all-out war with the Teroni Federation. Almost a year has passed since the events of Starship: Mercenary. Captain Wilson Cole now commands a fleet of almost fifty ships, and he has become the single greatest military force on the Inner Frontier. With one exception. The Republic still comes and goes as it pleases, taking what it wants, conscripting men, and extorting taxes, even though the Frontier worlds receive nothing in exchange. And, of course, the government still wants Wilson Cole and the starship Theodore Roosevelt. He has no interest in confronting such an overwhelming force, and constantly steers clear of them. Then an incident occurs that changes everything, and Cole declares war on the Republic. Outnumbered and always outgunned, his fleet is no match for the Republic’s millions of military vessels, even after he forges alliances with the warlords he previously hunted down. It’s a hopeless cause…but that’s just what Wilson Cole and the Teddy R. are best at.

Book Of Lies by Brad MeltzerThe Book Of Lies
By Brad Meltzer; Read by Scott Brick
10 CDs – Approx. 11.5 Hours [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Hachette Audio
Published: September 2008
ISBN: 9781600243806
Cain kills Abel in Chapter Four of the Bible. It is the world’s most famous murder. But the Bible is silent about one key detail: the weapon Cain used to kill his brother. That weapon is still lost to history.
In 1932, Mitchell Siegel was killed by three gunshots to his chest. While mourning, his son dreamed of a bulletproof man and created the world’s greatest hero: Superman. And like Cain’s murder weapon, the gun used in this unsolved murder has never been found. Until now. Today in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Cal Harper comes face-to-face with his family’s greatest secret: his long-lost father, who’s been shot with a gun that traces back to Michell Siegel’s 1932 murder. But before Cal can ask a single question, he and his father are attacked by a ruthless killer tattooed with the anicent markings of Cain. And so begins the chase for the world’s first murder weapon. What does Cain, history’s greatest villain, have to do with Superman, the world’s greatest hero? And what do two murders, committed thousands of years apart, have in common?

BBC Audiobooks America (via Audible.com) - Watch Your Back by Donald E. WestlakeWatch Your Back
By Donald E. Westlake; Read by William Dufris
Audible Download – 9 Hours 4 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: BBC Audiobooks America
Published: October 2008 (at Audible.com)
Provider: Audible.com
Hapless criminal John Dortmunder returns in another rollicking tale of disorganized crime from Grand Master of Mystery Donald E. Westlake. It’s the score of a lifetime: easy access to a lavish New York City apartment, hordes of valuables, and an absentee owner avoiding the lawyers of his unhappy ex-wives. But before they pull the job, Dortmunder’s crew is startled to find their beloved gin joint, the OJ, in the clutches of the Mafia – who consider it perfect for a little fraud, courtesy of a nice big fire. For tactical and highly superstitious reasons, the fate of the OJ is even more important to the crew than the enormous score. Now, Dortmunder and his gang are determined to split their time, fighting the mob, and robbing the rich simultaneously.

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #020

January 12, 2009 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Podcasts 

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #020 – Today Jesse and Scott talk with James Powell, a terrific Mystery, Science Fiction, Fantasy and Crime writer. He was first published in April 1966 and has approximately 140 published short stories in such magazines as Playboy and Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine. But most of his tales, including his most famous have been published in Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine! His tales are relentlessly logical, often hilarious, and swift. He is an absolute master of the short story. Powell is what’s known in the business as a “Pussycat writer” which means he doesn’t put sex and violence on the page, it all happens off-stage. Look for his latest tale, Clowntown Pajamas in the February 2009 issue of EQMM.

Talked about on today’s show:
A Cozy For The Jack-O-Lanterns, A Dirge For Clowntown, Clowntown Pajamas, Monaco, France, Crippen & Landru, The Friends Of Hector Jouvet |READ IT|, Peter Sellers, A Murder Coming, the review in which I first mention A Dirge For Clowntown rules for what Powell calls “Elf Economics”, The Theft Of The Valuable Bird, Midnight Pumpkins (Cinderella as Hard Fantasy), Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine, Alfred Hitchcock style stories, Clowntown Pajamas, the hidden but clear rules of clown and mine behavior, Toronto, 1940s, QUESTION: Who does James Powell read? ANSWER: Charles Dickens, Jorge Luis Borges, J.R.R. Tolkien, and lately Michael Swanwick‘s The Edge Of The World, as wells as A Passage To India, E.M. Forster, Bouchercon, Frederic Dannay, Santa’s Way, The Tamerlane Crutch (a takeoff on the Maltese Falcon and A Christmas Carol), Lawrence Block, Fantasy & Science Fiction magazine, The Quest For Creeping Charlie, 1950s, George Orwell, Winter Hiatus, Iced: The New Noir Anthology of Cold, Hard Fiction edited by Peter Sellers, The Dawn Of Captain Sunset (a superhero champion of the elderly), round robin style short stories, The Best Fantasy Stories Of The Year: 1989 edited by Orson Scott Card and Martin H. Greenberg (ISBN: 1556561431), the difficulty of writing a Science Fiction Mystery story, John W. Campbell, Isaac Asimov, of A Dirge For Clowntown Scott says: “[it is] one of the finest mysteries I’ve ever read set in a different world,” Dercum Audio, Durkin Hayes, The Book Of Lies, Brad Meltzer, A Murder Coming edited by Peter Sellers (ISBN: 0886466377), calling all publishers: COLLECT JAMES POWELL!

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #015

December 8, 2008 by · 5 Comments
Filed under: Podcasts 

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #015 – On today’s podcast we take you on a merry chase ending with… “governments can do things right.”

Talked about on today’s show:
SFFvideo.com!, The January Dancer, Michael Flynn, Blackstone Audio, Eifelheim, big dumb object (also a website), Earthfall, Orson Scott Card and his interview, the Homecoming Series, the book of Mormon, The Book Of Lies, Brad Meltzer, Ender In Exile, Tor.com podcast, in what order should you read a sprawlling series? answer = publication order, First Meetings, Orson Scott Card’s InterGalactic Medicine Show, Scott’s story Adrift and my reviewlette of it, MrAudiobook.com/ReQuest Audiobooks, Eye For Eye, Run For The Stars, Harlan Ellison, Tony Smith’s StarShipSofa podcast (roundtable discussion #6), Anathem, Neal Stephenson, Snow Crash, The Diamond Age, Quicksilver, William Dufris, Red Mars, Kim Stanley Robinson, Richard Ferrone, Blue Mars, Green Mars, Cryptonomicon a 1000-page novel, Scott Brick, A History Of English In 28 Minutes, The Hour Of The Dragon podcast, Robert E. Howard, Conan, Already Dead, Charlie Huston, Elantris, Recorded Books’s Sci-Fi Audio imprint, Audible’s RSS feeds, Love In The Time Of Fridges, Tim Scott, Forty Signs Of Rain, The Coming, Joe Haldeman, Elizabeth Bear, Moth Storm: The Horror From Beyond, Philip Reeve, DRM isn’t inherently evil, my solution to the problem = government (libraries), the future of digital distribution, video game models: Battlefield Heroes, Battlefield 2, Sudden Attack, Steam, what if Audible.com went out of business tomorrow?, Starship: Mercenary, Mike Resnick, iTunes, digital estates, abandonware, Steve Feldberg (director of content at Audible.com sez: Mike Resnick’s Starship book 4 is coming to Audible in mid-December! Huzzah!

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #012 – NEW RELEASES/RECENT ARRIVALS

November 17, 2008 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Audio Drama, Podcasts 

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #012 – Our sickest show yet. How sick? Well, I’d like Stanley Kubrick to direct the next Conan movie. We also talk about the SFFaudio Challenge #3, which is not as bad as Red Sonja (1985).

Talked about on today’s show:
Fallout 3 has a built-in radio drama (The Adventures Of Daring Dashwood), The Little Book, Selden Edwards, time travel, The Book Of Lies, Brad Meltzer, Nelson DeMille, The Border, The Third SFFaudio Challenge, Muureen O’Brien, Maria Lectrix Podcast, The Risk Profession, Donald E. Westlake, Spider Robinson, John D. MacDonald, Travis McGee, John Varley, The Persistence Of Vision, Scott Brick, Aural Noir, The Case Of The Dancing Sandwiches, Frederic Brown, The Fabulous Clipjoint, H. Beam Piper, Murder In The Gunroom, Galaxy Press, Elantris, Brandon Sanderson, Dennis Stocks, LibriVox, Masters Of Space, E.E. “Doc” Smith, E. Everett Evans, R.J. Davis, BSAP’s Queen Of The Black Coast, Robert E. Howard, Bill Hollweg, Stevie Farnaby, Brian Murphy, The Silver Key, Brett Ratner’s new Conan movie, HBO’s new A Song Of Ice And Fire show.

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #011 – NEW RELEASES/RECENT ARRIVALS

November 10, 2008 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: New Releases, Podcasts, Recent Arrivals 

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #011 – in which our desperate heroes attempt to display the manliness and fortitude, listing all the recent arrivals, and some recent listens.

Talked about on today’s show:
audiobooks, epic fantasy, science fiction, The Runelords, David Farland, Blackstone Audio, Brilliance Audio, Dragonheart, Todd McCaffery, Pern, Penguin Audio, Jim Butcher, Codex Alera, Furies of Calderon, Kate Reading, Random House Audio, The Widows Of Eastwick, John Updike, Peter Straub, Poe’s Children – an anthology, Stephen King, Star Wars – Millennium Falcon, James Luceno, Macmillan Audio, Robert Jordan, Brandon Sanderson, Michael Kramer, Richard Stark, Books On Tape, Frank Herbert, Heretics Of Dune, the Alan Smithee version of Dune (1984), Neal Stephenson, Anathem (28 CDs long!), The Book Of Lies, Brad Meltzer, Ender In Exile, Orson Scott Card, Team America World Police, Sherlock Holmes Theatre, Yuri Rasovsky, audio drama, 2000X, Repent Harlequin Said The Tick-Tock Man, Harlan Ellison, Mercedes Lackey, Foundation, Wizard’s First Rule, Terry Goodkind, Legend Of The Seeker, SFSignal.com, iTunes, Infinivox, Guest Law, John C. Wright, Audio Realms, Shadow Kingdoms, Robert E. Howard, Fallout 3, and Team America: World Police‘s song we’re gonna need a montage!

Posted by Jesse Willis

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