Friday, December 5, 2008

The Book of Lies-Brad Meltzer

The Book of Lies
Brad Meltzer
Grand Central, Sep 2008, $25.99
ISBN: 044657788X

Nineteen years ago in Miami, then nine year old Calvin Harper watched his bipolar mom go berserk as she always did when the demon surfaced. His usually in control dad Lloyd loses it this time and punches her in the chest in a rage. Just before dying, she blames Calvin. Lloyd is convicted of manslaughter. Over the years, Calvin never made contact with his dad even after he was released from prison.

Now in his late twenties Calvin and a former priest named Roosevelt work the mean streets of Fort Lauderdale taking homeless people to a shelter. However, when Calvin helps a vagrant, he is stunned because the homeless man is Lloyd. His father asks his estranged son to assist him as he searches for the ancient artifact that Cain used to kill Abel and may have been the weapon used to kill the father of Superman creator Jerry Siegel in 1932. Coded references hint at a book of immortality as the object, but others willing to kill want it too.

This is an entreating tale that links the first reported homicide to a 1932 murder to the Nazis and to a modern day secret cult. The story line is action-packed and fun to follow especially for Brownian conspiracy fans. However, none of the key cast members seem more developed than a comic book character so the tension never quite reaches gripping levels. Still this is an intriguing tale as the default starting in biblical times reaches the Harper males with interesting stops in between.

Harriet Klausner