The Escape Artist – Brad Meltzer – (Grand Central Publishing)
Bestselling author Brad Meltzer is one of those interesting characters that bring a masterful set of skills to the table when tackling writing entertaining reads. He mixes part high octane thriller, part puzzling mystery and part historical detective; focused on getting even the minor details correct.
For his latest outing, The Escape Artist, Meltzer utilizes all of his skills to brew up a highly entertaining read. While some are great thriller writers, not all bring a level of mystery to their stories like Meltzer can. He has almost singlehandedly mastered the art of weaving historical artifacts, in this case on multiple levels including things like magicians in government including mysterious friends of Harry Houdini, the Army’s Artist-in-Residence (hard to believe, but very real) and the folks at Dover Air Force Base, Delaware who play the oh so important role of caring for or military dead and by extension their families.
Who else but Brad Meltzer could turn an artist and a mortician into the lead characters in a novel; not only does he make that happen, but he does it to spectacular result. Nola Brown is a gifted, misfit; a skilled artist on a mission to uncover the mystery behind plane crash that supposedly left he for dead in the Alaska wilderness. She is one of those tortured souls that you can’t help but be compelled to pull for and is drawn in palpable detail by Meltzer’s skilled hand.
Equally tortured by his past and haunted by the memory of his dead daughter, Jim Zigarowski, is driven by his ghost to serve the needs of the military dead and is willing to go to the extreme to do right by them. Zig and Nola share a past that propels them together in a search for the true story behind the intrigue surrounding the plane crash. Perfection when it comes to seating the small details, Meltzer nails it on this one.