Lit Review: Brad Meltzer’s The Book of Fate

I love a good conspiracy theory. I could tell you ten different convincing suspects for who killed JFK. I love the thought that people actually think we faked the moon landing. And if you can get past the fact that three thousand people died, there’s something perversely fascinating about the fact that people really believe someone planted explosives to bring down the World Trade Center.

So when I heard that Brad Meltzer, one of my favorite writers, was penning a book on the Freemasons and their secrets, I was in without needing any more. The Freemasons are legendary for their secrecy, and may or may not be pulling the strings on the whole world. For “proof,” check out the site of this guy right here, who claims an evil conspiracy that encompasses everything from McDonald’s logo to the godawful Oliver Stone film “Any Given Sunday.”

Meltzer’s book tells the story of Wes Holloway, a presidential aide who takes a bullet during a failed assassination attempt at a NASCAR race. The president’s deputy chief of staff dies in the firefight, and the president loses his election bid when a photo of the attempt makes it appear he’s hiding behind the wife of one of his big donors.

Flash forward eight years, and Wes sees–or thinks he sees–the allegedly dead chief of staff sneaking into the former president’s quarters in Malaysia. And that sets off a whole chain of events that…well, I won’t say more, except to say that Meltzer specializes in setting up a mystery, then pulling off the Purloined Letter trick of having the answer to the problem hiding right there all along in plain sight.

It’s a damn good wintertime reading book, filled with the kind of nuance and detail that comes from dedicated research. While I would have loved to see some more Washington-based intrigue–most of the action takes place in South Florida–what we’ve got here is a book well worth checking out.

Bonus: visit Meltzer’s website for some secrets about the Masons.

Jay

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