The House Of Secrets is a standalone novel by the popular thriller author Brad Meltzer, in collaboration with Tod Goldberg, who is known for the book adaptation of Burn Notice, the popular crime TV show.
While I have never read anything else by Tod Goldberg before, I was already familiar with Brad Meltzer’s work, having read some of his older novels, including The Tenth Justice and The Zero Game, so I knew that I wouldn’t be disappointed in his latest book. And I really wasn’t. For the most part.
The story is about Hazel, her brother Skip and their popular father, Jack Nash, a famous conspiracy theorist and world mystery TV show host. And a whole host of secrets that get people killed.
Hazel wakes up in the hospital with no memory of what happened to put her there. She does remember, though, being in a car with her dad and Skip driving along the Utah desert on the way to somewhere. And that’s about it. Upon waking up, her brother comes to the room along with an FBI agent, both curious about her amnesia, and how severe it is, along with a bible that she should know about.
While her memory is wiped pretty badly, her curiosity seems to have remained intact, along with a strong will to stop at nothing short of finding out just what happened and why her dad ended up dead in that car accident that brought her to the hospital. Because she realizes that both Skip and the FBI agent are keeping some things from her, and the more secrets she encounters, the stronger and faster she wants to get to the bottom of it all.
When Hazel checks out from the hospital, she has only one thought in mind: to unravel the mystery surrounding her father and the so-called Arnold’s Bible. As slowly her memory starts to return, she gets flashes of a story her father told her when she was 6 years old about a mystery of a man who is found with a bible in his gut, a mystery which she had to solve.
As she tries to figure out what happened, she realizes that her dad’s TV show episodes are part of the puzzle she tries to put together, piece by piece. The more she learns, the more she realizes that her father is not the man she thought he would be, and government conspiracies are not only fragments of imagination by crazy people with tinfoil hats.
But does she dare unravel it all and will she like what she will find on the other side? And how much danger will she put her brother in to solve the mystery of Arnold’s bible?
The premise is awesome and I got sucked in the story right from the start. I did find myself at times skipping paragraphs just to get to the next section, which is something I rarely do. I found myself not caring much for the main characters, which was disappointing. The story was good, but emotionally I was not quite there.
The big mystery did prove to be interesting and I enjoyed my Aha moment when it was revealed, but when I tried to think back to Hazel’s childhood and the bible puzzle, I could not much align it with what the story tried to tell me about its truth.
Don’t get me wrong, the book was not bad, and it can be a great beach read. However the many 5 star reviews on Goodreads gave it a hype that I simply could not join in. Intellectually I enjoyed it. Emotionally, not so much.