Authors: Brad Meltzer
Tags: #Fiction, #Suspense, #Thrillers, #Suspense Fiction, #Espionage, #Family Secrets
This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, or persons, living or dead, is coincidental.
Copyright © 2008 by Forty-four Steps, Inc.
All rights reserved. Except as permitted under the U.S. Copyright Act of 1976, no part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, or stored in a database or retrieval system, without the prior written permission of the publisher.
The Superman copyright 1933 by Joe Shuster and Jerome Siegel.
Grand Central Publishing
Hachette Book Group, USA
237 Park Avenue, New York, NY 10017
Visit our Web site at
First eBook Edition: September 2008
The Book of Lies Companion Soundtrack features music compiled to enhance your reading experience and includes the new song “The Book of Lies”.
Available now for digital download from Victor Records.
You can download a free musical excerpt from the soundtrack and listen to a podcast from Brad at
(Limited time only).
ALSO BY BRAD MELTZER
The Tenth Justice
The First Counsel
The Zero Game
The Book of Fate
For my mom,
who still teaches me how fiercely,
a parent can love her child
I believe that what you are now reading is the most important part of this book. And yes, the publisher again asked me to move it to the back, but keeping it right in front is the whole point. So thank you to all—especially you, our incredible readers—whose support is the only reason I get to dream these dreams: First and always, my Wonder Woman, Cori, whose strength and unwavering love convinced me to finally write this book, which is one I’ve been afraid of for years. I owe her forever for that. And I’ll love her for all that time. Jonas, Lila, and Theo, you are the ones I dream for. You are the ones who inspire me. And the love in this father-child story is the love I keep for you. Jill Kneerim, my unwavering anchor, who believes I’m a better writer than I am, even when I fall short; Ike Williams, Hope Denekamp, Cara Shiel, Julie Sayre, and all our friends at the Kneerim & Williams Agency.
In this book about family, I need to thank my parents, who forever let me find my own adventures, especially the creative ones. They gave up so much for me. No one loves me more; my sister, Bari, who continues to lend me strength; Will Norman, for trusting me and reminding me about the real value of family; Dale Flam, whose reach and help knows no bounds; Bobby, Matt, Ami, and Adam, for more than they realize; Noah Kuttler, who is such a vital part of this process. He is a brother and mentor and keeps me intellectually honest about the craft. He also helps me feel cooler than the pathetic, bald little man that adulthood has turned me into. Thanks for pushing me, Calculator. Ethan Kline steers every early draft; Edna Farley, Kim from L.A., Marie Grunbeck, Georgie Brown, Maria Nelson, Michelle Perez-Carroll, and Brad Desnoyer, who do the true hard work; Paul Brennan, Matt Oshinsky, Paulo Pacheco, Joel Rose, Chris Weiss, and Judd Winick, such superfriends, who save me over and over.
As I’ve always maintained, every novel is a book of lies trying to masquerade as a book of truth. I therefore owe these people huge thank-yous for handing me the truths that are threaded throughout this book. First and without question, Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, the creators of Superman, for building something that has meant more to me than any other art form, including novels. For me, the best part of the story has never been the Superman part; it’s the Clark Kent part—the idea that any of us, in all our ordinariness, can change the world. I only hope, even in the fictional universe, I did your stories justice. To that end, this is a book about heroes, which is why I was blessed to find so many new ones, so thanks to: Joanne Siegel, Laura Siegel Larson, Marlene Goodman, Rita Hubar, Norma Wolkov, and Jerry and Irving Fine for sharing their memories, their family, and their friendship; Zachary Mann, a dear friend who kept me honest on how crime is really fought in the federal world of ICE investigations; Michael San Giacomo, my master of all things super and all things Cleveland; Courtney at the TaskForce Fore Ending Homelessness, David Abel, and Laura Hansen and Scott Dimarzo at the Coalition to End Homelessness, who fight the good fight every single day; my law enforcement team of Matt Axelrod, Brenda Bauer, Dr. John Fox, Steven Klein, Ed Kazarosky, Lisa Monaco, Maria Otero, Wally Perez, and Keith Prager, whose trust means so much; Mark Dimunation, Natalie Firhaber, Georgia Higley, Dianne L. van der Reyden, and Roberta Stevens answered every insane question about ancient book history; Hattie and Jefferson Gray, for sharing the Siegel house; Stan Lee, Paul Levitz, and Jerry Robinson, for so much more than comic book lore; Rabbi Steven Glazer, Rabbi David Golinkin, A. J. Jacobs, James L. Kugel, and Burton Visotzky, who helped steer and guide me through thousands of years of biblical interpretations; Paula Tibbetts and all the stories that came from Covenant House (1-800-999-9999, if you’re young and on the street and need help); Brian Fischer, Terry Collins, and Marc C. Houk, for all the prison details; Grant Morrison and Geoff Johns for feeding my Cain fascination, and Mark Lewis and Robert Leighton, artists and puzzle-makers extraordinaire. I also had an incredible group from the Library of Congress who helped with so much of the research: Tema David, Katia Jones, Sara Duke, Martha Kennedy, Peggy Pearlstein, Teri Sierra, and Kathy Woodrell, as well as the librarians at the Western Reserve Historical Society; Gerard Jones’s
Men of Tomorrow
, James L. Kugel’s
How to Read the Bible
, Louis Ginzberg’s
The Legends of the Jews
, Simon Singh’s
The Code Book
, and Ruth Mellinkoff’s
The Mark of Cain
were all invaluable to this process. Dr. Ronald K. Wright and Dr. Lee Benjamin yet again aided my medical details; John Ingrassia, Alex Miller, Leslie Collman-Smith, Matt Stringer, Tony Ward, and everyone at Sony BMG for their tremendous vision (check out the companion soundtrack they made for this book at www.BradMeltzer.com); and John Goins, Michael Orkin, Jacob Booth, Jeff and Emily Camiener, Janet Doniger, and Jessica Gardner trusted me with traits I truly hold dear, especially the ones you see in the characters. Finally, Stewart Berkowitz, Matthew Bogdanos, David Brazil, Sy Frumkin, Jerry Gottlieb, Mike and Laure Heuer, Jay Kislak, Abe Laeser, Brian Lewis, Tony and Jonna Mendez, Ben Powell, Tom Savini, Raquel Suarez, Andy Wright, and Mark Zaid lent their expertise to so many different details; Rob Weisbach for the initial faith; and of course, my family and friends, whose names, as always, inhabit these pages.
I also want to thank everyone at Grand Central Publishing: David Young, Maureen Egen, Emi Battaglia, Jennifer Romanello, Evan Boorstyn, Chris Barba, Martha Otis, Karen Torres, the kindest and hardest-working sales force in show business, Harvey-Jane Kowal, Mari Okuda, Thomas Whatley, Jim Spivey, and all the dear friends who, over the years, have helped build what we’re building. I’ve said this before, but it’s still true: They’re the real reason this book is in your hands. Also, thanks to Mitch Hoffman, whose insights and editing changed the course of Cal’s story. So glad to have you in the family. Finally, let me thank Jamie Raab. When I told her what this book was about, she never hesitated. She forced me to challenge myself, and for that, I am blessed. Thank you, Jamie, for knowing that the best stories are the ones we believe in, and most important, for your faith.
The story of Cain and Abel takes up just sixteen lines of the Bible.
It is arguably history’s most famous murder.
But the story is silent about one key detail: the weapon Cain used to kill his brother.
It’s not a rock. Or a sharpened stone.
And to this day, the world’s first murder weapon is still lost to history.
Nineteen years ago
hen Calvin Harper was five, his petite, four-foot-eleven-inch mom ripped the pillow from his bed at three a.m. and told him that dust mites were feeding off his skin. “We need to wash it.
” On that night, his mom seemed to change into someone else, as if she were possessed by some ghost or devil . . . or demon.
His dad told Calvin it was one of Mommy’s “bad days.” The doctors had a name for it, too. Bipolar.
When Calvin was seven, his mom called home with a cheery slur in her voice (the demon loved a good drink) to proudly tell him she had carved Calvin’s initials in her arm. When Calvin was eight and she was in a drunken rage, she took the family dog to the pound and “accidentally” had him put down. The demon liked laughs.
But none of those nights prepared Calvin for this one.
Fresh from his bath, with his white blond hair still soaking wet and dangling over the birthmark near his left eye, nine-year-old Calvin sat in his room, bearing down on his paper with an orange Crayola, while his parents shouted in the kitchen.
Tonight, the demon was back.
“Rosalie, put it
!” his father growled.
“Get away from me, Lloyd!”
his mother howled.
His father grunted.
“That’s it—you’re done!”
he screamed back.
Cling. Clang. Cling.
Calvin twisted the doorknob, ran for the kitchen, and froze as he turned the corner. All the kitchen’s lower drawers were open and empty, their contents—pans, pot lids—scattered across the floor. In the corner, the fridge was open, too—and picked just as clean. Jars of ketchup, soda, and spaghetti sauce were still spinning on the floor. In the center of the kitchen, his six-foot-two-inch dad was bent forward in pain as Mom brandished a fat white jar of mayonnaise, ready to smash her husband in the head.
“Mom?” Calvin said in a small voice.
His mother wheeled around, off balance. The jar fell from her grip. Calvin saw it plummet. As it hit the floor and exploded, there was a low, thick
, sending a mushroom cloud of mayo spraying across the floor. Calvin’s mother never flinched.
“You always root against me!”
she seethed at her nine-year-old boy with her dark, alligator green eyes.
“Maniac!” his dad erupted, and with one brutal shove pummeled his wife squarely in the chest.