Oh the pressure.
The last time I had to write something even remotely close to a book review was when I was in 11th grade, in Mrs. Bray's English Class, and I had to do a 500 word essay on Hemingway's The Sun Also Rises. It started something like this: "The Sun Also Rises, a book by Ernest Hemingway, is very,very,very, very, very, interesting. I really, really, really,really, liked his use symbolism."
Brad Meltzer, through his publisher and marketing people, made sure I received an advanced copy of his latest novel The Book of Lies. The book is not out in stores until Spetember 2nd. I received my copy on August 9th. I had visions that if I read the book that weekend and sent in my review that,maybe, on the back cover of the store copy dust jacket it would say something like: William from Poop and Boogies. com says "An action packed thriller. A true page turner." But a couple of things prevented a quick read. One, I am a very slow reader. And two, I just started reading a book about the Battle of Gettysburg which, is no big deal because I often read more that one book at a time. Oh, and three, I also have two kids to raise, a wife to spend time with, work to do, Project Runway to watch and Guilder to Frame for it. I'm swamped.
I also wanted the excitement of getting a preview copy to wear off so I could give it a fair review. It took me a few days to even attempt to start it. Then something else happened. General Longstreet did not agree with General Lee's plan for Pickett's charge. I had to finish those chapters in "The Killer Angels" first.
The premise of The Book of Lies is that the weapon that Cain used to murder Abel is never mentioned in the Bible and is lost to history. In 1932 Jerry Siegel's father is killed, a murder that is never solved, as a result Jerry goes on to create Superman, one of the worlds most recognized icons. What could these two crimes have in common?
I know it sounds a little strange and somewhat nerdy. I finally found some pieces of time to actually read the book. I kept a little notebook on me so I could make some notes for my review. Guess what? I did not write down one note. I was immediatley caught up in pacing of the book. The Book of Lies has short chapters, so from a pratical level, for someone who is busy like me, it is very easy to read on breaks, during lunch, or in between innings of the Phillies' games
The main character is Cal Harper, a former federal agent, who now works for a homeless shelter, patrolling the streets helping the needy. One night he finds his father, who he has not seen in 18 years, one the side of the road with a bullet wound in his side. Cal's father quickly garners Cal's help in the chase for world's first murder weapon. Not strange or nerdy at all. It reads like The DaVinci Code but instead of the Holy Grail, the characters seek Cain's murder weapon. And instead of clues being left in DaVinci's paintings, the characters are seeking leads from the works of another creative genius, Jerry Siegel. The Book of Lies is very good.
There is a reason why Brad Meltzer is one of my favorite authors and with this book he proved it again. Meltzer does not tell the story. He lets his characters tell the story. Cal, and Lloyd and Serena and Ellis tell this story.
Go to Brad's website and read more about The Book of Lies, you can even read the first chapter. Then go and get the book and read it and then comeback and tell me what you thought.
Oh and Brad, if you happen to read this review, leave a comment just so I can prove my friend Nilbo wrong.