The Escape Artist

The escape artistAuthor: Brad Meltzer

Publisher: Grand Central Publishing

Release Date: March 6, 2018

Rating: 4 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

Who is Nola Brown and why is she supposed to be dead? Throughout this book, readers will be left stunned and salivating for answers for these two questions in addition to many, many more!

When a plane falls from the sky with seven passengers, one of them very important to the President of the United States, all of the bodies are sent to Jim “Zig” Zigarowski at Dover Air Force Base.  However, one body causes a problem or him.  The ID tag says she is Nola Brown but Zig can’t believe that is true.  He hasn’t seen Nola in years but will never forget the night she saved his daughter at a campfire. That same night, she got a scar on her ear that would be unmistakable, the body in the morgue has no such scar.  Zig feels he owes Nola a debt and is now on a mission to find out what happened and why her death is being faked.  Nola works for the army as their artist-in-residence, a painter who goes into battle and shares a different point of view of what has happened than most.  On her last mission, she witnessed something nobody was supposed to see that set in motion a course of events leading to the plane crash and her running for her life.  Nola doesn’t know if she can trust Zig but she is running out of options and time.  Together they will work to unearth the mysteries dating back to Harry Houdini and a mystery bigger than they could have ever imagined.

This book had a lot going on, between the military aspect to the story, the magic and Harry Houdini references and the actual mystery itself, so readers are going to need to pay close attention to all that is going on. I liked the way Meltzer made the characters memorable, Nola was a unique character in not only her attitude and mannerisms but also the physical features that set her aside making Zig know she wasn’t on that plane. There were a few points throughout the book when it was hard to believe the characters could do what they did without any others becoming suspicious or asking questions, but if you can look past that is still makes for a very enjoyable read.  All questions were not tied up until the very last page keeping the reader engaged until the very end.  In order to tell the whole story, Meltzer has to give Nola’s backstory in flashbacks. These can sometimes take the reader out of the story because it can stop the progression of what is happening in the present time and the back and forth can leave readers scratching their heads.  I understand the need for this and think overall it was done fairly well but would have liked a little less flashbacks and a little more time spent in present tense, especially towards the end.  I recommend this book to readers that like a thriller that will leave them thinking,, but not too hard because if they do the realism of the story will seem a little unbelievable.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher. The views and opinions expressed within are my own.

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