Books

Unraveling a conspiracy (or two)

The House of Secrets. Brad Meltzer and Tod Goldberg. Grand Central. 368 pages. $28.
The House of Secrets. Brad Meltzer and Tod Goldberg. Grand Central. 368 pages. $28.

With The House of Secrets, Broward resident Brad Meltzer — author of novels, a series of historical books for children, comics and more — launches a new thriller series. The series, which will delve heavily into historical conspiracy theories, will be Meltzer’s first collaborative effort (not counting comics) and will be co-written with Tod Goldberg, best known for his novel Gangsterland.

Meltzer and Goldberg move The House of Secrets at a breakneck pace, indulging and parodying thriller clichés while examining history and presidential lore, an ongoing favorite theme of Meltzer. The plot of is highly entertaining, if a bit far-fetched. But often the most outlandish situation is based in reality. As Meltzer has proven before in Decoded, the TV series he hosted from 2010 to 2012, truth often is stranger than fiction. And what never wavers is Meltzer’s meticulous historical research: He draws on intriguing little known facts to make the past come alive.

Hazel Nash was raised on conspiracies as the daughter of Jack Nash, the host of the long-running popular TV series The House of Secrets that investigated the unexplained. Jack had a lot of obsessions, JFK and Benedict Arnold’s Bible among them. After an automobile crash in the Utah desert, Hazel emerges from a coma to learn her father was killed in the crash, her older brother Skip was injured and that she has lost most of her memory. And what’s a conspiracy thriller without a shady FBI agent asking weird questions, as well as a few turncoats and multiple betrayals?

Jack may not have simply been an inquisitive man deeply invested in eccentric facts. He also was working with the government. As Hazel tries to recover her memory and find out why she has a lot of guns for an anthropology professor, she also attempts to solve the great mystery of her father.

Meanwhile, the bodies of two men, one named Nixon and the other Kennedy, turn up in the weirdest of places. And, no, these are not the Nixon and Kennedy you’re imagining.

This new series should turn out to be as popular as Meltzer’s novels about archivist Beecher White, who makes a cameo appearance. The House of Secrets is never truly hard-hitting, but the authors also don’t indulge in overt violence, and they pull the story together with an intriguing twist.

Oline H. Cogdill reviewed this book for the Sun Sentinel.

Meet the author

Brad Meltzer appears:

▪ 2 p.m. Saturday at Books & Books, 265 Aragon Ave., Coral Gables

▪ 7 p.m. Saturday at the Alvin Sherman Library, Nova Southeastern University, 3100 Ray Ferrero, Jr., Blvd., Davie; for free reservations call 954-262-5477 or grodriguez@nova.edu; RSVP by June 8.

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