Customer Reviews for

The Book of Lies

Average Rating 3.5
( 190 )
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5 Star

(44)

4 Star

(71)

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(52)

2 Star

(18)

1 Star

(5)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

5 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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

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...
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

posted by harstan on December 5, 2008

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Most Helpful Critical Review

8 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

The Book of Lies: A decent Mystery Novel

The Book of Lies, by Brad Meltzer proved to be a decent mystery novel. There were numerous pieces that I thought were good and others that weren't so great. It managed to include a number of aspects you wouldn't expect to find in most books - Nazis, Superman, and the st...
The Book of Lies, by Brad Meltzer proved to be a decent mystery novel. There were numerous pieces that I thought were good and others that weren't so great. It managed to include a number of aspects you wouldn't expect to find in most books - Nazis, Superman, and the story of Cain and Able, and the fact that they somehow all tie together.
In the Book of Lies, Meltzer does a wonderful job of creating cliffhangers. One of the major driving aspects of this story is the fact that at the end of every chapter, there is some action or dialogue that just makes you to want to keep reading and makes it hard to put the book down.. Either the dialogue makes you want to read on, or at the end of a chapter something is revealed that you had no idea was coming, and you want to read onto try to figure out how that twist ties into the entire story. So one of the book's key elements is that it is hard to find a stopping place where you can actually put it down. For each of the main characters that were found in the book, each one had a great deal of background information, which was one aspect that really drove the story. The majority of the characters had a good deal for background, which continued to develop through out the story.
However the plot twists and cliffhangers were probably the only thing that kept me reading onward. Mystery books aren't my favorite type of reading, so I found it a bit boring as it was just trying to find one clue after another after another. There wasn't enough action/side story in the middle - the sequence of the book was introduction of characters, clue searching for the majority of the book, then everything is wrapped up at the end. In the middle the clue searching was viewed from a number of different characters, but it was really just a constant race for the next clue. To tie into this is the ending. The ending of this book is a problem that numerous books have - all the problems are wrapped up in maybe 50 pages out of the 400 or so, giving it a very abrupt ending. It came very quickly, and wraps everything up way to fast. Also despite the amount of background each character had, there was little character development throughout the book. The characters grew very little through the events in this book, which made characters somewhat lacking.
The book had its ups and downs. It proved to have a lot of good cliffhangers and red herrings, however not much else will keep you reading. The ending was a bit too abrupt to sum up all that had happened in a mystery novel, and the characters lacked growth through the book. The book was decent, not the worst, but not the best.

posted by HenryG108 on March 16, 2010

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  • Posted February 9, 2011

    too short

    This was my first Brad Meltzer book.Liked the story and the writing, but the story didn't get really interesting until about halfway into the book.Seeing as the book was only 352 pages long that leaves only 176 pages of this story at it's best.Just when I started getting into the book it started winding down.I would, though, definitely give this author a second try.
    I think a lot of different types of readers would like this book.This would include mystery and thriller lovers,history buffs, even comic book lovers(because of the Superman tie-in).

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  • Posted January 25, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Confusing read

    In my opinion, I thought The Book of Lies was a average story. The story kept me a bit confused with all the biblical references. Some just didn't make sense or they seemed out of place. However, overall, the book had a interesting plot so I chugged my way through to the end.

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  • Posted March 20, 2010

    Hang on!

    Through the first half of the book I was thinking 'What is going on here!" Good engaging read, has a solid closing.

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  • Posted March 19, 2010

    Book of Lies Book Review

    The Book of Lies, written by Brad Meltzer, connects the story of Superman's creation and the story of Cain and Abel into a suspenseful mystery. Meltzer weaves the unsolved homicide of Mitchell Siegel and his son's witnessing of the event with the first murder the world has ever seen. The Main Charactermain character, Cal Harper, faces mystery and betrayal and as he sorts out clues left by Jerry Siegel and searches for an ancient artifact.

    In the book, Calvin at five years old is disturbed by the death of his mother and the imprisonment and abandonment of his father, Lloyd. 19 years later Cal reunites with his father in a park. but soon after he is attacked by a zealot stranger, named Ellis. Ellis will kill and destroy so he can get the ancient treasure of Cain. Cal and his Father race to figure out a mystery of the story of Cain and god's gift.

    Brad Meltzer creates a thrilling and suspenseful novel that is exciting to the reader. Meltzer creates clues and mysteries on each page that give insight to the book's ending. However, I
    felt that so parts of the book were unbelievable and had bad concepts. I liked the writing and the thrill, but the story line was weak. I give the book 4 four out of five stars.

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  • Posted March 18, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Review on Book of Lies

    Book of Lies Review
    The book, The Book of Lies by Brad Meltzer was I think really good and interesting. I like this book a lot because of the mysteries and cliff hangers that Meltzer left me with. The way that Meltzer builds the tension and keeps it going and then leaves you there is just something that I think makes me want to read more and more. I also like the way Meltzer builds and developed the characters and also how he changed the perspective throughout the book.
    In the book my favorite character was Cal because he seemed to be the hero in the book the way he was always in the middle of the action and always manages to get out safe. My favorite part in the book is when Cal and his father start actually talking and start working together to find the treasure or book of lies. I would defiantly recommend reading this book if you are into mystery and action packed I think that this is the book to read.

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  • Posted November 28, 2009

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    I Also Recommend:

    Asked for something similar to Da Vinci and ended up with LIES!!!!

    This book was nothing like I expected! Very slow read for the first 200 pages, but did pick up towards the end, but not enough to consider this a good investment. I kept telling my wife that I was going to finish it no matter what and that it was going to get better. Although it did I still felt gypped!!! The dialogue was very elementary and the overall booked lacked a certain type of cleverness that I am accustomed to. This was my first Brad Meltzer book and after this one I probably won't be in a hurry to read another. Not a total bust but not a good time either!

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  • Posted August 31, 2009

    Not Sure!

    This was the first book i have read from Brad Meltzer. I really didn't enjoy the reading for the first time... Although i love Superman, the tie in to the first murder known to man was irrelevant. Maybe I was expecting too much from the cover.

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  • Posted August 16, 2009

    Not My Favorite

    I've read all of Brad Meltzer's books....this one was a little boring...I also hated the "sound effects" they were a distraction....and the ending was totally anti-climatic.

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  • Posted August 6, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Thrilling and Emotional, 'Super'

    I recently had the opportunity to hear Brad Meltzer speak at a conference, and he mentioned how at a book signing he learned a previously unknown fact regarding Superman's creator. And then to read this book and see how he wove in that information, creating a fantastic story behind it, blending his love of comics into a great thriller, was a wonderful experience.

    The characters are well-rounded, the dialogue perfect, and the conflict between father and son plays out perfectly at the end. I was a little worried at first about the revelation of what the Book really was, and in less-skilled hands this could have been really corny, but Brad not only made it work, he made it believable and emotionally-resonant.

    Highly enjoyable.

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  • Posted July 13, 2009

    ehh

    it was ok! I always read brad meltzer expecting more, but don't really get it. I'm not sure I can put my finger on exactly what it was I didn't like. Maybe mostly the build up to an uneventful ending.

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  • Posted June 18, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Superman, Nazis, the CIA & more...

    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!!!

    Definitely a good, good book!!

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  • Posted June 11, 2009

    Fast paced and gripping

    Meltzer takes you on a wild ride. He is a master of suspense writing. Nearly every chapter end leaves you hanging and demands that you continue reading. The intersecting plot lines are well developed and the characters jump off the page. It is a story of multiple layers, but bound by a common theme of the relationship between sons and their fathers. If someone said they could write a story connecting Cain and Abel, the history of Superman comics, and INS agents, you would say "no way." I was a bit skeptical when I bought it. Meltzer ties them together beautifully and seamlessly. Great action read.

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  • Posted March 26, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    An Immortal Secret

    Serving as a thriller filled with emotion and life lessons, The Book of Lies by Brad Meltzer is truly a winner in its story line, fictional and historical theory, suspense, and its pulsating climatic plot. In this book, Brad Meltzer is proven to be able to smash two famous stories and suggest a lingering theory of the first murder of history and the greatest superhero ever thought of.

    In The Book of Lies, the protagonist is Calvin Harper, a homeless citizen in Fort Lauderdale, Florida that was an ex-FBI agent, but now helps eliminate troubled individuals on the street. He eventually finds his long, lost father, Lloyd Harper, shot under the ribcage on a rainy night in the park. Coincidentally, the same gun that wounded Cal's father, Lloyd, is the same gun from the 1930s that killed Mitchell Siegel, the father of the Jerry Siegel who is the creator of the Superman comics. Confusing and creepy a bit? Yes, but this is where the story kicks off into a seemingly endless maze of clues of theories to find the first murder weapon in history: the weapon Cain used to kill Abel in the Bible. A mysterious murderer named Ellis is marked with the ancient markings of Cain which consist of a crescent moon and a wolf-like dog. Ellis serves as the antagonist, trying to also acquire the murder weapon and prevent Calvin from getting to the weapon first.

    Meltzer does fair job with his exposition on the book with two characters basically racing for an object lost in history. Much is known about Ellis as he travels around with his wolf-life dog, Benoni. Calvin's character is set in the beginning, but throughout the story other characters are able to shape his ideas, views, and emotions that therefore add dynamicity to his character.

    Brad Meltzer is able to give the reader little facts and history about the Mitchell Siegel and his son Jerry Siegel-part of the story through frequent flashbacks into the early to mid 20th century that later on become useful in the history and theories mentioned throughout the book. Meltzer uses simple diction to understand, since the plot and back stories are complex enough. Using 1st person point of view, we gain the insight of the protagonist Calvin and since it is a mystery story, he clearly doesn't know everything, but he is reliable due to the characterization around him. Good, suspenseful action is in use when Meltzer switches the 1st person point of view of Calvin Harper to an all knowing 3rd point of view with Ellis. It may not be frequent, but the action is able to come through as we see the views of the antagonist.

    Meltzer uses other effective literary tools that add dynamics book such as the slowing of time in a murder and the thoughts in the protagonist's mind when hard-hitting actions around him take place. Meltzer also uses irony in making the reader think that a character is a double character, playing two roles in the plot, being the all-knowing one in the story. This all eventually is cleared up at the eventful climax.

    My final thoughts? Every part and page of the book was essential to the whole story. My only issue was the frequent coincidences and theories, but I rolled with them and if you like a good, fiction, suspenseful, the da vinci code-like story, then is for you. I enjoyed the ending; nothing but calm final thoughts after all the suspense. If you're interested, read it and you'll learn a ageless secret.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 23, 2008

    I Also Recommend:

    Another Success in a Long Line

    Brad Meltzer is one of the most spellbinding authors that I have read in a long time. The interwoven plots and fast pace keep the reader entrenched with little or no ability to put the book down. It has been years that I picked up a book and read it in less than two days. Rarely do I have the opportunity to do that. For any reader fascinated with intrigue, this is a must read. I really wouldn't miss this one!

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  • Posted December 8, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    Very enjoyable read!

    I'm only a recent Meltzer fan, but I have found him very inventive in his storylines and an easy read. It is evident there was lots of research that went into the making of this book and that only adds to the fun in reading it. I recommend this book to anyone looking for a thought-provoking but not mind-numbing with an overload of information. Just right!

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  • Posted December 8, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    A thrilling adventure

    Brad Meltzer gives us a story full of secret societies, government spies and tells it in such a way that keeps the reader engaged and on the seat of his/her seat.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 1, 2008

    The Book of Lies

    The premise of Brad Meltzer¿s new novel, ¿The Book of Lies¿, incorporates historical and modern mystery in a lightweight conspiracy story. The characters are interesting and make the story enjoyable. Calvin Harper, the protagonist, is a skeptical social worker who lives in regret after witnessing his mother¿s accidental murder when he was a child. He befriends a former priest name Roosevelt and together they run the streets of Florida picking up homeless people and taking them back to shelters.<BR/> After learning his father was released from jail a long time ago, Cal never tried to contact him. When his father needs Cal to find an important artifact which he was supposed to deliver, the story really takes off, centered on an unhealthy and anticipated family fight. The search starts in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and winds up taking them to a particular house in Cleveland, the former home of Jerry Siegel, the known creator of Superman. They will discover an unexpected connection of the artifact and secret society that only Jerry knows.<BR/> ¿The Book of Lies¿ has somewhat of a comic book feeling to it. Meltzer often uses small illustrations to convey points but one can easily believe this is due to Meltzer dealing with comic book culture throughout the story. The illustrations are frequent enough to be noticed, but don¿t take anything away from the writing style. The comic and pop-culture references are so well plotted to keep the reader¿s interest in the story. Overall, it is action packed and has plenty of well-thought ideas. <BR/> A big attraction to the story is the Siegel and Superman relation, although Siegel¿s story is much more relative to that of Batman; An abandoned son and murdered parents. This underlying theme is cleverly used throughout the story. A somewhat bothersome aspect of the story is the language usage. The language is casual and at times comes across as immature, seemingly trying to avoid profanity at all costs. This by no means degrades the quality of the work, but at times takes away from the seriousness of it.<BR/> All in all, ¿The Book of Lies¿ is a well written, good novel. It is certainly intriguing and will keep you in deep thought throughout the read. What I really liked about the novel is how Meltzer builds his own fictional plot around these historical events. The accurate ties with Jerry Siegel are fascinating and keep the book relative rather than give it a wild or ¿blind¿ plot. I would suggest this book to anyone looking for an exciting and mysterious read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 1, 2008

    book review

    As many would agree, Meltzer¿s unusual writing style of short chapters and changing of prologues will leave readers in vast suspense. Every chapter comes a new question. And every other chapter is put in new perspective of a different character that seems to answer, yet<BR/>un-answer, those questions. <BR/>Aside from his brilliant writing style, Brad Meltzer also creates some of the most interesting, conflicting yet relatable characters in The Book of Lies. Calvin Harper starts out his teen years with troubled parents who left a mark on his childhood that changes the way he views life. There are only few people who he trusts but only then to come back and betray him. Now at an older age, he suddenly finds his injured criminal father the reason behind many of his problems including a secret that has them both running from the law. Ellis Belasco is a cold-hearted murderer whose best friend is a dog name Benoni. Ellis is secretive with high motives. He sets out across country to find a book believed to be the mark of Cain. There are many comparisons between him and Cain of the bible. Officer Naomi is a struggling mother and worker. Despite her appearance, she is clever, quick-witted, and a threat to Calvin and Ellis. She is a hotheaded middle-aged woman who will stop at nothing until she avenges her partner¿s death. While coming from different situations, they all have one thing in common, to be accepted and respect by others. <BR/>I was impressed by Meltzer¿s decision of the three characters. Usually a book only has that one strong willed character. That one character that knows one step before everyone else. Yet he puts all of these traits into his three main characters, which are antagonists of each other. It was interesting to see the different narrations of each person. What one thought might not be how the other viewed. Brad Meltzer has a way of making readers feel so in sync with the characters in such an articulate writing style that is more than commendable of a bestseller. <BR/>Despite its religious background, I was drawn by Meltzer¿s strange connections and storyline. On a biblical and literal level, The Book of Lies is everything its title indicates, a series of lies of a tragic fable. The lies traced back from Abel and Cain, the first murder ever to occur. Then, hundreds of years later, Mitchell Siegel was killed by two gunshots. However, weapons from both incidents were never found. Legend told of Abel¿s murder by Cain, but failed to mention or come into detail of the weapon. Siegel¿s mysterious death was never come in question with the CIA. They suddenly dropped the case without tracing or revealing the murder weapon to the public. Years later Jerry Siegel created a famous comic book hero that would eventually be the key to all of these answers and the cause of all the deaths. Jerry Siegel¿s superman lived his life in secrecy. He is the replacement for a boy¿s long lost father. But because of the old comic book, many lies were created in protection of the truth. This eventually led to Ellis¿s killing spree, which led to Calvin¿s brush with the law and Naomi¿s interrogations. The ¿Book of Lies¿ was meant to be a book of answers, the truth, hidden from the lies of others. But in actuality, Meltzer¿s The Book of Lies literally only consists of lies, betrayals, and sabotages for greed.

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  • Posted November 16, 2008

    I Also Recommend:

    Book of Mystery

    This suspense novel has a well-written fascinating premise that involves the teenaged creator of Superman comics, a back story of a Nazi quest during World War II for a book of power, mysterious people seeking the book today, and Cal Harper who is searching for this book.<BR/>The Prophet and The Leadership loom menacingly in the background, desperate to recover the book, which was stolen from them in 1900. Cal gets clues about where the book is and is tracked by an assassin, and meanwhile Cal is reunited with his dad under strange circumstances. Father and son were separated for 19 years while Cal¿s dad was in prison.<BR/>The Book of Lies may offer clues to the world¿s first murder weapon, used by Cain to kill Abel. I won¿t reveal any plot details since you will want to read this book if you enjoy a creative story in the form of a suspense tale

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 6, 2008

    I am a Brad Meltzer fan . . . .

    I've mostly enjoyed his earlier books and hope the author has a few more like those in him. There were things about this particular story that disturbed me . . . such as the fact that everyone near and dear to the main character betrays him - how much of that can one person stand? I am not a comic book aficianado, so I am hoping for something different in his next book.

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