Review of The Book Of Lies by Brad Meltzer

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

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2 thoughts to “Review of The Book Of Lies by Brad Meltzer”

  1. I tried really hard to listen to The Book of Lies; it was one of the first audiobooks I “checked out” of my local library’s website. But I really don’t have tolerance for long drawn out suspense/action scenes, and I’ll admit I lost patience about 45 minutes in.

    However, nobody told me that Siegel and Superman would be involved. That’s a good reason to start in again. :)

    (And yes, I realize that “allergy for suspense” is not a common ailment, but there you are.)

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