Friday, October 27, 2006

DECEIT

Tom Valle is a liar. Disgraced by making up stories for a large newspaper, he is kicked out of his job only to land a new one in the nowhere community of Littleton, California. Trying to hide from his past, Tom now writes about the opening or closing of a new diner in the one-horse-town, or posts topics about equally mundane items.

But one day an accident happens on the highway near town and Tom goes out to check on it, and this scene will change his life.

A charred body is discovered in one car while the driver of the other looks nearly unscathed. Tom digs into the story and soon discovers that the dead driver was a castrated black man. But the name on the driver’s license in the corpse’s wallet doesn’t match that of a black man. Thus begins Tom’s research that will lead him down dark corners and straight into a huge government coverup.

Although ‘small-town, hiding-out, newspaper guy who breaks into a big story’ has been done before, author James Siegel accomplishes it with intense action, great dialogue, and makes no apologies for the cliche.

That Siegel can pull it off so well is extraordinary. He brings together the Vietnam War, World War II, and the modern day Department of Energy effortlessly.

The only downside to the entire story is some of the cliches. And although Siegel mentions that these things are cliche-ish, it still rings an alarm bell in the reader’s mind.

Even so, Deceit is aptly titled with so many twists and turns that readers will rush through the pages just to find out whodunnit and the more important, "Why".

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