Thank you NetGalley and Grand Central Publishing for providing an e-ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Synopsis: When Hazel Nash was six years old, her father taught her: mysteries need to be solved. He should know. Hazel’s father is Jack Nash, the host of America’s favorite conspiracy TV show, The House of Secrets.
Even as a child, she loved hearing her dad’s tall tales, especially the one about a leather book belonging to Benedict Arnold that was hidden in a corpse.
Now, years later, Hazel wakes up in the hospital and remembers nothing, not even her own name. She’s told she’s been in a car accident that killed her father and injured her brother. But she can’t remember any of it, because of her own traumatic brain injury. Then a man from the FBI shows up, asking questions about her dad–and his connection to the corpse of a man found with an object stuffed into his chest: a priceless book that belonged to Benedict Arnold.
Back at her house, Hazel finds guns she doesn’t remember owning. On her head, she sees scars from fights she can’t recall. Most important, the more Hazel digs, the less she likes the person she seems to have been.
Trying to put together the puzzle pieces of her past and present, Hazel Nash needs to figure out who killed this man–and how the book wound up in his chest. The answer will tell her the truth about her father, what he was really doing for the government–and who Hazel really is.
The House of Secrets is one of those books that are tough to review without giving away any spoilers, but I’ll endeavor to do my best. It’s basically a giant puzzle, with all these various clues and pieces thrown out there in the wind. First and foremost there’s Hazel’s mysterious background. She’s a very complex character and tough to figure out. What put me firmly in her corner is when she takes truth serum in order to get some answers. She’s willing to do whatever it takes to uncover the truth, even if she uncovers some unpleasant truths about herself. There’s also the question of exactly whose side her brother Skip is on. He and Hazel have an odd relationship and I found myself questioning his motives throughout the book. And the biggest puzzle piece of all involves the death of Jack Nash himself, and what exactly was he up to while hosting his show and tracking down Benedict Arnold’s bibles. The truth behind the books caught me completely by surprise. It’s a huge twist which had me gasping out loud. There were a couple of things which prevented this from being a perfect novel for me. The first involves a trip that Jack takes for his tv show back when Hazel and Skip are still children. He should have known the potential for danger, yet he still brings Skip along anyway. Up until this scene, Jack isn’t really portrayed as a careless or neglectful father, so this didn’t make a lot of sense to me. The second issue I had involves the main villain. Through most of the story his motivations are unclear, but when they’re revealed I thought it a bit anticlimactic and it left me rolling my eyes. Overall though, this is another outstanding book by Brad Meltzer. I haven’t read anything by his co-author Tod Goldberg, but I can say that they make a very good team. The writing is seamless and I found it impossible to determine which chapters were written by whom. The House of Secrets is a perfect beach read, especially for fans of books like The Da Vinci Code. It’s a perfect blend of historical fiction and thrilling mystery that makes it difficult to put down.