Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Book Review: The Book of Lies

From the inside cover of The Book of Lies:
In chapter four of the Bible, Cain kills Abel. It is the world's most famous murder. But the Bible is silent about one key detail: the weapon Cain used to kill his brother. That weapon is still lost to history.

In 1932, Mitchell Siegel was killed by two gunshots to the chest. While mourning, his son dreamed of a bulletproof man and created the world's greatest hero: Superman. And like Cain's murder weapon, the gun used in this unsolved murder has never been found.
If you were to only have read those two paragraphs, you might think the plot of The Book of Lies is about what these two murders have in common and the search to solve them.

And you'd be partly right. But only partly.

The Book of Lies is more about the relationships between our parents and us and us and our kids. It's about how our parents let us down and we let our own kids down. But more than that, it's about coming to terms with our pasts and reconciling the pain of our childhoods with the truth we find as adults. It's about seeing our parents completely broken and realizing, maybe for the first time, how much they love us. It's about forgiveness of them and ourselves. And it's about how ordinary people change the world.

My favorite line in the The Book of Lies is repeated a number of times, each time in a slightly different way: "There's the life you live and the life you leave behind. But what you share with someone else - especially someone you love - that's not just how you bury your past. It's how you write your future."

And if you pay attention, you'll learn the secret of immortality. It's right there. In black and white.

To say the least, I loved The Book of Lies. And not just because I had a strong bias in favor of it before I even cracked the spine. It was a page turner that I did not want to put down. It's well written, impeccably researched, and if you're a fan of Brad Meltzer, you'll find his passion on each and every page in a way it's not in his other books. This book is obviously much more personal for him and, in my opinion, much better than the others, all of which I thoroughly enjoyed.
Without hesitation, I encourage you to read The Book of Lies.
5 stars.

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