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The House of Secrets


The House of Secrets

Very early in THE HOUSE OF SECRETS, a horrific car accident occurs. There were three passengers, all members of the same family. The father was killed instantly, an apparent heart attack victim. The son suffered a broken nose and other bodily injuries. The daughter woke up eight days later with little to no memory and no idea who she was.

The daughter in question is Hazel, and she may have gotten the worst of the accident's after effects. You see, her father, Jack Nash, was a world-famous TV personality who hosted a show for many years called “The House of Secrets.” Her brother, Skip, literally grew up in front of the world as his father threw him on the air to regularly appear on their popular series.

"THE HOUSE OF SECRETS is an outstanding novel and destined to be one of the most popular reads of the summer.... It fully lives up to the reputation and standards of Meltzer's previous works, and his fans will not be disappointed."

Hazel had no desire for fame or any type of celebrity. As she grew up, she became wild, surly and mean --- the apparent opposite of her famous father and sibling. The car accident wiped away her personality, and her surgeon tells her that she has been given a great gift --- the ability to start over, to be anyone. The only problem is that the past is about to come storming back upon the survivors of the crash, and a payment Hazel was not aware she owed is about to come due.

Jack told Hazel when she was six years old that mysteries need to be solved. He always shared with his children "The Story." It involved an alleged copy of the Bible that General George Washington sent to the traitorous Benedict Arnold before the close of the Revolutionary War. This much sought-after item supposedly has been delivered through the centuries sewn inside a corpse. The book also purported to have supernatural properties that brought wealth and success, and rumor claimed that many powerful and famous people have been in possession of it and passed it around throughout the ages. What was the secret of this book, and could it have contained coded messages that proved Arnold was in fact a triple agent, always working for Washington?

The question now remains: Could the search for this rare item have caused Jack’s death, and were he and his family targeted? Hazel and Skip begin to buy into this theory when two individuals, both of whom were connected to their father through an FBI investigation, end up murdered. One is killed in Canada, the other in the Middle East, and each had ties to the Benedict Arnold Bible. Even more ominous, one corpse has a book sewn into his chest.

Throughout the novel, another narrative involves a nameless killer, referred to simply as the Bear, who seems to be after the Nash family. Who he really is and his true agenda will not be revealed here, but it's a very good plot twist. Meanwhile, the doctor who treated Hazel in the hospital unexpectedly commits suicide. As she begins to piece together more of the story of her family --- with help from a snooping FBI agent who always seems to be lurking nearby --- Hazel gets proactive and continues whatever mission her father had been on prior to his death. Her brother goes on his own trek, but they don’t realize that there is no one they can trust and imminent danger lurks around every corner.

Some of the most interesting chapters involve flashbacks to actual episodes of “The House of Secrets,” and they are quite eye-opening. They also come coincidentally close in appearance to Brad Meltzer's own cable series, “Decoded” and “Brad Meltzer's Lost History.” Quite simply, THE HOUSE OF SECRETS is an outstanding novel and destined to be one of the most popular reads of the summer. The only question I had while poring through these pages is why Meltzer needed a co-author and what contribution Tod Goldberg provided. It fully lives up to the reputation and standards of Meltzer's previous works, and his fans will not be disappointed.

Audiobook available, read by Scott Brick and January LaVoy

Reviewed by Ray Palen on June 9, 2016

The House of Secrets
by Brad Meltzer and Tod Goldberg

  • Publication Date: June 7, 2016
  • Genres: Fiction, Suspense, Thriller
  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
  • ISBN-10: 1455559490
  • ISBN-13: 9781455559497