cover image The Escape Artist

The Escape Artist

Brad Meltzer. Grand Central, $28 (432p) ISBN 978-1-4555-5952-7

Mortician Jim “Zig” Zigarowski, the hero of this stellar series launch from bestseller Meltzer (The Book of Lies), works the U.S. government’s most top-secret and high-profile cases at Dover Air Force base in present-day Delaware. Zig’s world changes when a military plane mysteriously crashes in the Alaskan wilderness and the body of soldier Nola Brown, who as a child saved his daughter from an explosion at a Girl Scout camp years before, arrives on his table. As Zig prepares the body, he discovers that the scars Nola sustained at camp are missing, and he becomes suspicious. When he finds a crumpled piece of paper in the woman’s stomach, a warning for Nola, his suspicions are confirmed: this isn’t Nola. Zig is determined to discover what happened to her and whether she’s safe. The closer he gets to the truth, the more dangerous it becomes. Soon he finds himself in the middle of Operation Bluebook, a secret government program that goes back to Harry Houdini. With its remarkable plot and complex characters, this page-turner not only entertains but also provides a fascinating glimpse into American history. Author tour. Agents: Jill Kneerim, Kneerim, Williams & Bloom Agency and Jenifer Rudolph Walsh, WME. (Mar.)