The House of Secrets (Audiobook) by Brad Meltzer, Tod Goldberg, Scott Brick, January LaVoy

The House of Secrets The House of Secrets

by Brad Meltzer, Tod Goldberg, Scott Brick (Narrator), January LaVoy(Narrator)

Unabridged Audiobook, 10 hrs, 14 min.
Hachette Audio, 2016
Read: September 22 – 28, 2016

I’ve appreciated the work of Meltzer (comics only, haven’t tried a novel) and Tod Goldberg in the past, so I was intrigued by the idea of them working together, but the book itself just didn’t seem like my cup of tea. Then I heard them interviewed on The Writers Panel podcast and I changed my mind (give it a listen, it’s fun).

Boy was that a mistake. Mostly.

So, the host of a Ripley’s Believe it or Not-esque show all about the crazy conspiracies, hidden stories, and unexplained throughout history is about to retire but is killed in an auto accident. His son and daughter are in the car with him — Junior survives with minor bumps and bruises, Hazel is seriously injured and suffers a traumatic brain injury. She pretty much forgets who she is.

She starts investigating her own background and starts finding questions about her father and his show — there seems to be more than just a TV show afoot. And…yeah, I just can’t care enough to do more than this, I’ve already spent more time on this than I wanted to.

It was a fun, potboiler-y book that was entertaining enough to justify the ten hours — and then the ending, the explanation for everything, and the denouement were horrible. Not just disappointing, but worse. It really made me mad.

I typically like Scott Brick’s narration — but something about the approach he used this time just didn’t work for me. I can’t put my finger on why — maybe it was a bit too aggressive sounding? Like I said, I really don’t know. I did find LaVoy’s work interesting and engaging, however. Maybe it was the contrast between the two that left Brick’s performance wanting (I don’t think so, but it’s a thought that occurs).

As frustrating as I found the story (eventually beyond frustrating), it was an entertaining, gripping book. Structurally sound, moved along at a good pace — everything you want in escapist fiction. But man . . . the ending (and really all of it, therefore, as it is a mystery) was plain ol’ bad. The first 9-ish (maybe 8-ish) hours were good enough that I can’t rate this too low (but man, the ending made me want to).


2 1/2 Stars

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