Saturday, November 15, 2008

The Book of Lies, by Brad Meltzer

The Book of Lies, by Brad Meltzer

Cain killing Able is arguable the world’s most famous murder, but surprisingly the weapon used is unknown. In 1932, the father of the boy who would go on to create the world’s most famous superhero was shot and killed; that weapon is also missing. What do Cain, history’s greatest villain, and Superman, our greatest hero, have in common? That is the mystery explored in The Book of Lies.

Fact and fiction are stitched together in a clever fashion that gives plausibility to an otherwise farcical tale. Fast-paced action and a lot of dialogue keep the story moving, and red herrings keep you guessing which of the (few) characters is a traitor. Plot holes and coincidences abound and none of the roles are given much depth, but the lack of pretension makes up for a lot. This is a fun tale and a quick read, perfect for (as a friend of mine says) “a sinfully long and hot bubble bath with a book.”

Brad Meltzer gave a book reading of this at BookPeople, a local bookstore here in Austin. (I’m normally a fan of local chains, but BookPeople is terrible; they have an arrogant, haughty staff and are rude to customers. It is a shame an eclectic city like Austin is known for this crappy place.) He is a funny and engaging speaker, and spoke passionately about his new organization, Ordinary People Change the World, a group that doesn’t need “political favors, or government, or skeevy politicians” to make a difference, but instead encourages normal folks to get involved. I found this inspiring and a much more worthy cause than most political movements. Check it out.

First Sentence:
When Calvin Harper was five, his petite, four-foot-eleven-inch mom ripped the pillow from his bed at three a.m. and told him that dust mites were feeding off his skin.

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