Book Of Lies, The

Fiction - Mystery - General
464 Pages
Reviewed on 03/14/2009
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Anne Boling for Readers' Favorite

Brad Meltzer takes two real murders and entwines their story with that of a fictional murder.

Mitchell Siegel (father of the creator of Superman) was shot in 1932. Present day, Cal Harper’s father has been shot. The gun is the same as the one that was used in the Siegel murder. Meltzer ties these two murders to the first murder, Cain and Abel. So begins the quest to find the original murder weapon, the one Cain used to kill Abel. Secret Societies, Superman, murder, intrigue, deceit, and non-stop action make this book a must read. Brad Meltzer has a talent for capturing the attention of his readers and keeping them eagerly turning pages. Wisely, he keeps the number of characters at a minimum. Too often, authors overload their books with characters and lose the attention of the reader in the process. This book will particularly appeal to adult males.

R. Novak

Meltzer has a bad habit of giving his characters ungainly speeches and diatribes when they're in situations that would normally require immediacy. A parade of shallow, trite persons amble through the narrative: the estranged father, the angry abandoned son, the spunky single-mom cop, the emotionless assassin, etc., etc. The central plot concept could have been interesting, but here it's executed more like the novelization of a mediocre summer movie screenplay. Verdict - meh. Didn't throw it against the wall in frustration.

Anita Porterfield

Brad Meltzer deftly weaves a story of suspense and intrigue as he connects the dots between the Biblical murder of Abel by Cain and the unsolved homicide of Mitchell Siegel, father of the creator of Superman. Meltzer never lets his audience down in this clever, intriguing new thriller, The Book of Lies. . .or should it be called The Book of Truth?

B. Desnoyer

Meltzer's feel for character and emotion are what make this nail biting thrill-ride worth every moment. Once you pick it up you won't want to put it down. Great concept and story made all the better by a tight plot, human characters and overall great writing.

frank cox

At first I was hesitant about the topic, even though it intrigued me. The idea of a link, in history (death of the dad of superman's creator and Cain and Able) sparked my curiosity. I loved the parallel that Brad used in his writing and even though this is my first novel, from Brad Meltzer, I found his use of music (which I also purchased) as a mood altering device to enhance the books energy was fantastic, but I would have liked more of a structured use of the music. Anyway, I look toward to more soundtracks in the future of novels. I recommend this book to other readers, who are searching something different, but at the same time don't expect a Dan Brown type of novel. I don't think Brad Meltzer ever tried to sell the novel as an eye opening "Da Vinci Code". I read some reviews saying they were disappointed in "Lies" not being the new "Code". However, I think Brad explains that the book was an opportunity to look at two stories that have historically been a mystery. He tries to take the mysteries and write a good story behind what if there was something more to than meets the eye. Book of Lies ?????? Greg


Good plot, fine mystery, but the shallowness of the characters made me want it to be over with.

D. Govert

Brad Meltzer's latest novel interests itself in the most famous murder in human history- Cain killing his brother Abel- and how it may be connected to the 1932 death of Mitchell Siegel (the father of Superman creator Jerry Siegel.) The plot moves along at a breakneck pace slowing down only occassionally for personal moments between lead character Cal Harper and his father Lloyd. The Cain mythologies and the pop culture of Superman may be what brings readers to this book , but underneath the surface this book is about the relationship between fathers and sons. What does a father's love mean? What happens to a child that loses that love and is there anything in the world that can bring it back? As a man who lost his father at a young age, these are the moments that kept me turning the pages.
There are only a handful of characters in the story which allows the reader time to feel that he knows at least something about all of them. Meltzer does a good job of giving enough information about a character to give his or her motivations without bogging down the plot in details that will ultimately prove useless.
As for all the coincidences that occur in the book- I don't believe that there are any more in Book of Lies than in any other thriller of the past five years. Very nearly all thrillers rely on at least one stupendous coincidence to move the plot forward. It could be as simple as when a character is chasing someone and just happens to see a glimpse of the person rounding a corner. While not all that likely of a scenario it is necessary so that the plot doesn't fall down because the bad guy got away. As another example, it always seems that in murder mysteries or thrillers the main character just so happens to have done something in his childhood that makes him ideally suited to tackle the problem at hand. Does Book of Lies rely on coincidences? Yes it does, but not so much that the reader starts to groan when they happen. They seem natural to the story which is a sign of a good fiction writer.
Overall I found this book incredibly enjoyable. I read it in one day. It had me guessing as to the indentities of some of the villains, and most importantly, Meltzer didn't get in his own way. The Cain and Superman elements of the plot weren't discussed to the point of exhaustion. As a self-proclaimed fanboy Meltzer could easily have fallen in a rut of discussing comic books and their history to the point of boring his readers. The same could be said of the biblical information. Meltzer gives just enough information to keep the plot moving forward without feeling like we've stumbled into Sunday school.
This was a fantastic book and I highly suggest it to any fans of thrillers and mysteries.

Ryan S

Reviewed at The UnGraphic Novel at the official web site of Wizard Magazine for comics ( I give this book 3.5 stars (out of 4).

Here's a clip of the review: "(Meltzer's) presentation of this alternate and little known history has gained attention from national media ... It seems poised to rewrite comic book history, or rather correct it. This could be a major turning point in the entire Superman franchise. As our perception of the Man of Steel changes, hopefully so too will our understanding of the character ... Forget the fictional elements and the transparent DaVinci knockoff for a moment. This book is worth reading because of how it will forever change the way we look at Superman."

C. Lee

This is a good solid book. It wasn't exactly what I thought it would be-more of the Bible story- but it was better. I loved the mystery of it and trying to guess what would happen next. I normally don't read a mystery type book but this was a great one for me.


Very good read, alot of plot twists and surprises. Meltzer ties in Superman comic books with the Bible, Nazis, CIA and several others.

The dialogue is very well written, but its written to sound "real", which does sort of throw you for a loop at first. But it seemed to me that the author just wanted it to be very realistic. The characters talk like people do when their comfortable with each other.

The story is set in 2008. Alot of current references throughout the book, like the mention of (King James), but not the actual King, King James as in Lebron James!

The story is alot like "The Da Vinci Code" and "National Treasure". But what can you expect, once an idea has been done, anything similiar gets compared to it.

The ending is very surprising and definitely unusual, but very good!!!

Not the best book of the year, definitely a good, good book!!

Wolfe Moffat

Looking at this in the book store made me go UH-OH, ONE OF THESE STORIES! Then before I knew it, I got it. I'd read THE MILLIONAIRES by Meltzer before, and I really enjoyed it. I've also been told that Brad Meltzer is about as hit and miss as an author comes. Plus, this has an Amazon average rating of 3...but oh well. I liked it. I might've felt like the average Clark Kent reading it at times, but I still liked it!

Well, as they say in Superman, it's a bird...a's Lloyd Harper, the long, lost dad of Cal Harper! Is this a good thing? Cal has at least one memory of his dad, and that doesn't mean a good one either. And shortly after this encounter, somebody is after the both of them. Why is that? And what goes on after that is one crazy race for something worth killing for. And when you figure that Cain, the world's first cold-blooded killer is a clue, it gets crazier by the minute! Add a little Superman to that equation and you've got something really out of this world! Talk about about murder weapons...WOW! This really does get dog-eat-dog, but that just means it gets interesting. In short, Cal Harper is living in a world of betrayal, and he doesn't even know it. And I'm not even giving anything away by saying that!

I can easily see why this as taken as way over-the-top. But I can also see it as something that might hold a candle to Dan Brown in some readers' eyes. I've never read Brown myself, so I'll never know. But I did enjoy this. Doesn't mean everybody else has to enjoy it, but I did! It gives me a reason to seek out more Brad Meltzer. I haven't found the bad books he wrote just yet, so that's a good thing. He's 2 for 2 in my book, so far! Thanks, Brad!