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The House Of Secrets
Brad Meltzer, Tod Goldberg

Grand Central Publishing
June 7, 2016/ ISBN 9781455559497
Thriller / Spies / Conspiracies

Reviewed by Elise Cooper


The House Of Secrets by Brad Meltzer with Tod Goldberg is the first book in a riveting new thriller series. Most authors are well known for their writing style and Meltzer is no different, as he has become the king of the conspiracy mystery. Not only does this plot hold the reader’s attention, but it also keeps them off balance and navigating through the twists and turns.

Meltzer became intrigued “Eight years ago at the National Archives I was shown the Oath of Allegiance. Those who signed it agreed not to betray the US. One of those names was Benedict Arnold, who was a distinguished military man. Before he became a traitor he had put his life on the line for our country. In that moment when I saw his signature the story all came together for me. I could not get out of my head the story of the last moments between Benedict Arnold and George Washington. It has been said that the portrayal was one of the few times Washington actually cried in public. It is unbelievable that Arnold asked for his baggage and clothes with Washington delivering them immediately. The conspiracy presents itself because no one knows what was in the baggage.”

Espionage, government corruption, family secrets, blackmail, betrayal, murder, and a historical conspiracy are all incorporated into the plot. The main protagonist is Hazel Nash. Meltzer has done with her what he previously did with another main character Beecher White, who makes a cameo appearance in this novel. Both characters are realistic, believable, likeable, complex, and intelligent; although Hazel is more of a “badass.”

The mystery begins on page one when the Nash family gets into a car accident. The father, Jack Nash, host of a conspiracy investigation TV show is killed and his daughter Hazel has a traumatic brain injury. She is intent on regaining her memory and discovering the real reason behind her father’s death. Remembering her father’s words, that mysteries need to be solved, she wonders if the tale he told her about Benedict Arnold could be true. Conspiracy theorists believe that Arnold was a not a traitor, but a double agent.

The theme of the book is sacrificing for family and friends. He noted, “People fight like a mad dog for each other and bring out the best and the worst self. Hazel will do anything to protect those close to her. I put in the book a true story told to me by an intelligence military officer. It explains how far we will go for our family and the basic theme of the book. A dictator’s top lieutenant had a child who was very ill. To heal him, they needed to give this child the kind of medical care only the United States could provide. In exchange for treating the child, the U.S. gained an incredible new asset who reported directly to us. This reluctant spy, whose name I can’t divulge because he’s still alive, helped the U.S. keep arsenals out of the hands of extremists, without anyone knowing. With his lieutenant acting as a middleman, he also assisted in a covert financial investigation. And all the while, he still hated us.”

Hazel is spurred on with her investigation when FBI agent Trevor Rabkin, aka known as Rabbit, reports that her father was poisoned to death along with Darren Nixon and Arthur Kennedy, the latter found dead wearing a Continental Army outfit. Working as a team they must combat an assassin know as The Bear as they search for answers.

He also hope parents will be interested in his children’s book series. Out in September is his next children’s book I am George Washington. He noted, “We started the children’s series because I was tired about hearing of loud-mouthed athletes and TV stars considered heroes. My goal is to teach children about their own power and to look up to real heroes of history. The age group is for 5 to 10 years. I am proud that it is the number one illustrated children’s series of the last decade. I think that is because people are tired of searching for American heroes for their children.”

House Of Secrets is an engrossing story with intrigue, mystery, history, and suspense. All these ingredients are mixed together to form a fascinating conspiracy theory. This fast paced narrative has well developed characters and a plot that will make readers question everything they were taught in the history books.

Reviews of other titles by Brad Meltzer

Tenth Justice [book]
The Millionaires [book]
The Zero Game [book] [audio]
Inner Circle (Culper Ring #1) [book] [audio]
The Fifth Assassin (Culper Ring #2) [book]
The President's Shadow (Culper Ring #3) [audio] [book]
The House Of Secrets [book]
The President’s Shadow [book] [audio]
The Escape Artist [audio]

2004 Author of the Month

Reviewed 2016