The Book of Lies Review
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As a boy, Calvin Harper lost both of his parents at the same time—when he watched his father cause his mother’s death. Since then, Cal has struggled to find love—a struggle that eventually led to his dismissal as a Customs agent. Now, Cal works for a homeless shelter in Florida, picking up homeless people in his big white van and giving them a place to stay.

One night, though, a call changes Cal’s life forever—because the wounded man that he and his partner, Roosevelt, are sent to pick up is Cal’s long-lost father, Lloyd. But this father-son reunion isn’t exactly a happy one. Cal knows not to trust Lloyd—and his suspicions eventually lead him to join his father on a deadly adventure. With a mysterious ex-cop and an ICE agent following close behind, Cal and Lloyd make their way north to Cleveland—to the childhood home of Superman’s creator, Jerry Siegel—to try to figure out how the death of Siegel’s father could be connected to the first murder ever.

Brad Meltzer’s The Book of Lies is a complex and clever thriller that connects fact with fiction—and the Bible with one of the greatest comic book superheroes ever created (with some Nazis thrown in for added intrigue). It’s filled with imaginative conspiracy theories and unsolved mysteries that will keep you reading, eager to find out how they all fit together.

At its heart, though, The Book of Lies is also a story about fathers and sons. Cal seems to worry just as much about his relationship with his father—and whether or not Lloyd can be trusted—as he does about the villain who’s tracking them. The situation adds depth to his character, and it gives the story a bit of heart. But, unfortunately, it also means that the novel’s bad guy, Ellis, isn’t developed nearly as much as he could have been. Ellis is a fascinating character, but his background (and the part he plays in the story) is little more than hinted at. We’re told that he was somehow connected to an old organization with ties to the Nazis, but the connections are weak and somewhat puzzling, making Ellis seem a lot like a comic book villain—a one-note character who’s a bad guy just for the sake of being bad. Meltzer hints that there’s much more to his story—but he doesn’t really tell it.

Still, The Book of Lies is a captivating read that feels like a mix of Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code and a James Patterson thriller. Meltzer weaves a pleasantly puzzling plot, written in super-short chapters that make the story move faster than a speeding bullet. So if you enjoy a good conspiracy theory (especially if you’re a Superman fan), this thoughtful thriller has the power to keep you frozen in your favorite reading chair until you turn the last page.

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