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The Escape Artist

3.79  ·  Rating details ·  15,049 ratings  ·  1,548 reviews
Who is Nola Brown? 
Nola is a mystery. 
Nola is trouble. 
And Nola is supposed to be dead.
Her body was found on a plane that mysteriously fell from the sky as it left a secret military base in the Alaskan wilderness. Her commanding officer verifies she's dead. The US government confirms it. But Jim "Zig" Zigarowski has just found out the truth: Nola is still alive. And on
Hardcover, 416 pages
Published March 6th 2018 by Grand Central Publishing
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Mick H Nola will be in future books. I went to a speaker event Brad spoke at recently and he hinted at Nola being a recurring character. Unless I'm mis-remem…moreNola will be in future books. I went to a speaker event Brad spoke at recently and he hinted at Nola being a recurring character. Unless I'm mis-remembering, there was no mention of Zig unfortunately. Obviously Brad could surprise us all and include any of the characters, but Nola really was his "baby" while writing this book.(less)
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Average rating 3.79  · 
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Larry H
Jan 19, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
I'm between 4 and 4.5 stars here.

It's amazing to think that it's been nearly 22 years since Brad Meltzer burst on the scene with his first book, The Tenth Justice . I remember him being quite the wunderkind at the time, and I even went to a book signing at one of those long-defunct bookstore chains, either B. Dalton or Waldenbooks. (Remember those?)

Every single one of his novels since then has made the bestseller list, but somewhere along the way I couldn't keep up with him, so it has been a
Mar 14, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook
Brad Meltzer is back with another thriller to appease his adult fans. With a story that dazzles and characters whose lives enrich the storytelling, the wait for this gem seems justifiable. Jim “Zig” Zigarowski works as a civilian mortician at the Dover Air Force Base, having seen much during his long career. After a plane crash in the Alaskan wilderness, the bodies begin their return for final preparation before being released to the families. While one of the victims is the Librarian of Congres ...more
Jun 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
"What the eyes see and the ears hear, the mind believes." (Harry Houdini)

Brad Meltzer opens this story with a military plane going down over the Alaskan wilderness. A female soldier stands poised before the open door hatch ready to jump into the unknown abyss. With screeching wind and shaking limbs, we feel the demanding pressure right alongside her. That fatal jump........

Meltzer then introduces us to Jim "Zig" Zigarowski, a dedicated mortician at Dover Air Force Base, who stands in the ready t
Mar 20, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
After a credible start, this story degenerates to bad, then worse. 0 of 10 stars
Jan 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Murder, deeply hidden political secrets, interesting but emotionally scarred characters and a unique setting - who could ask for more? Me, actually; I'm thinking (make that hoping) this marks the start of a great new series.

The intriguing setting is Dover Air Force Base, where exceptionally talented mortician and beekeeper Jim "Zig" Zigarowski lovingly works on the bodies of fallen soldiers and not a few of the U.S. government's high-profile deaths (bringing to mind a male take on Patricia Corn
Saadia B. ||  CritiConscience
2.75 Stars

The mortuary at Dover was classified for US's high officials where all soldiers and officials were brought. Nola's body was also brought there but Zig, the mortitian, confirmed with the help of the fingerprint scanner that the body wasn't her. The plane crash was kept hidden for two days from the news, Nola jumped off the plane in order to save her life from the crashing plane.

Nola and Roddy were twins adopted by the Walters, but they could only keep one hence they gave Nola away to R
Feb 27, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
After a credible start, this story degenerates to bad, then worse. 0 of 10 stars
Clever and accurate title. Well-written thriller, plot-wise. But it's entirely a book written by a man that is supposed to be about a woman but is actually about a man instead. The marketing is well-done but inaccurate. This book is about Zig, and tangentially about Nola Brown. It would be nice to actually read a book about Nola who sounds like she would be a fascinating character if she was ever described in a manner that was not in relation to another male. Perhaps we could see her thought pro ...more
Magdalena aka A Bookaholic Swede
I have read books by Brad Meltzer previously and know that he will once again deliver a thrilling and mysterious story. And I was right. I was also delighted that the story included a Harry Houdini angle!

Who is Nora Brown? Who is this woman that is killed when an airplane crashed? I have to admit that I did not read the blurb before I read the book which meant that I did not know much about the plot. Which when I now know what the blurb reveals makes me very glad. I liked being surprised, I like
Michael Slavin
Jul 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime-thriller
Wow! This book was very good. Again since I am writing thrillers, I noticed better than any book I have read so far is that each chapter really stops on a cliff hanger. Meltzer has done a great job of not letting you put his book down because you want to know what happens as he leaves you in suspense.

It is a great story with three unique leading characters. You will dive deeply into SSG Nola Brown's character. Her cruel father guardian and the man that feels he owes her.

But beyond the story you'
Mar 25, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Perhaps the worst written best seller I have read. I would have stopped after the first triple use of the same verb on a page or body sound, but I was stuck. I was driven to try to understand how such drivel could not only be published by a major house let alone become a best seller. This book makes anything by James Patterson look good. The writing is poor, the plot is contrived and any marketing comaprisons to Lisbeth Salander are unearned. This is an excellent book to read if you, too, want t ...more
The Real Book Spy
See this review and more at

Who is Nola Brown?

That’s the question readers will ask themselves as Brad Meltzer’s latest high-octane thriller, The Escape Artist, kicks off.

Officially, Nola Brown is dead. Her body was found among others after a devastating plane crash. Her commanding officer confirms Nola’s death, as does the United States government. So, too, does Jim Zigarowski’s boss, who signed off, triple-checking that the body arriving at Dover Air Force Base was, in
Mar 22, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
THE ESCAPE ARTIST is touted as a thriller. I did not find it very suspenseful. The plot is unique and it starts off as a taut, complex thriller, but becomes lengthy and too drawn out as the storyline becomes more and more incredulous, if not ludicrous. The “complex thriller” becomes convoluted with too many secondary characters. The author does his homework and provides interesting facts....but learning about the nature of bees? Really? How is that germane to the plot AT ALL? Going on and on abo ...more
Patrice Hoffman
Brad Meltzer's The Escape Artist has been on my to-read list for quite some time. I've enjoyed reading his Culper Ring series and expected this title to be a thrilling, high energy read with a nugget of American history that makes the reader wonder what other conspiracies our government could be hiding. The Escape Artist did not disappoint.

The Escape Artist introduces us to a civilian mortician, Jim Zigarowski BKA Zig. Zig gets word that a body has been shipped to the morgue bearing the same nam
May 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A mortician and an artist investigate a plane crash and stumble into dark government secrets.

An action-packed, fast-paced read with fully developed, highly flawed characters, an utterly imaginative plot, and plenty of twists.

Highly recommended to readers of thrillers.
 Danielle The Book Huntress (Back to the Books)
This was a group read for the Goodreads Action Adventure Aficionados group, and my library happened to have the audiobook, which was excellent. I honestly was somewhat underwhelmed. I liked the concept and I think Nola was an interesting character. Nola has a Lizbeth Salander feel, or if you've read any of the Informationist books by Taylor Stevens, she also reminds me of Vanessa Michael Monre. Zig was fine. I mean I liked him. He just didn't have enough charisma as a lead character for this boo ...more
Kasa Cotugno
Started strong but wallowed too much in unnecessary torture and violence.
Scott  Hitchcock

One of the best books in the mystery books I've read in awhile. Not because the mystery was a mystery but because the author incorporated so many concurrent stories dealing with different forms of grief, child abandonment, magic and Hoodini in historical fiction terms, PTSD....really well done especially in regards to grief accompanying child loss and the PTSD which results the same way it does for soldiers, reliving the horrors again and again.
Bam cooks the books ;-)
*3.5 stars rounded up.

I was surprised to realize I've never read any books by Brad Meltzer before and found I quite enjoyed this taste. The main character here is Jim "Zig" Zigarowski, a divorced mortician at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware. A small plane carrying military personnel and government officials has crashed in Alaska killing all seven aboard and the victims are brought to Dover for their burial preparations. Zig realizes he knows one of the dead, Sgt. 1st Class Nola Brown, and makes
4.5 actually. Wonderful and a great read. I had forgotten how great it was to read a Brad Meltzer book. And how novel to have a mortician (acting as a PI) and it really works. I must see if there are anymore books with Jim ("Zig") as the lead character. One of the best thrillers I have read. And David Baldacci agrees with me: really I agree with him. A high stakes, high tension thriller. ...more
Mar 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
“The big move covers the small one"

Jim “Zig” Zigarowski is a gifted mortician at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware. Military deaths and some of the larger civilian death tolls go through the mortuary there. Zig is a master at putting broken bodies back together, preparing them for viewing by their families and friends.

So when a plane crashes in Alaska with a personal friend of the President of the United States aboard, the remains go to Dover.

But when Zig finds that a woman he knew years ago as a
Jul 20, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Brad Meltzer delivers again! Brad introduces a new set of characters that draws you in from the very beginning. This new adventure takes the reader all over the US from Alaska to DC. In pure Meltzer fashion, he weaves an intricate web of twists and turns, with the heart pounding action that his readers have come to enjoy. The reader is kept guessing from page to page. Overall, another great time spend enthralled in another Meltzer book that was definitely worth it!
Sharon Grutsch
Mar 27, 2018 rated it did not like it
I can’t even finish it.
Benjamin Thomas
Jim “Zig” Zigarowski is a mortician. But not just any mortician. He works at Dover Air Force Base applying his superior skills to re-building the remains of downed US Service men after they’ve been killed and maimed in combat. He’s the best there is and he always gets the toughest cases. But he also does it as a means of atonement…for what happened to his own daughter years ago.

But when an airplane crash in Alaska involves a young female Sergeant named Nola Brown, who also happens to be the one
Mar 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mystery-thriller
“You make something appear. You make something disappear. You make two things change place. Or, the one Zig liked most: You change one thing into something else.”

Two lives digging for truths, two lives twain in battlement with death, one literary starting her teen life out digging a grave, to becoming one wanting to be dead, the other with a job, maybe in part due to kin lost to terrible circumstances, that maybe serves as a second chance for the fallen by fixing them up to a presentable state.
Mar 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I can never get enough of his books. So glad they don’t come out every3 months and are well written but I want more stories....I am so very thankful for 20 years of Brads books
Very intense, often graphic story of a mortician at Dover who feels that it is his mission to make the military dead as presentable as he can for the families. Zig is devastated when he is given the job of preparing an airplane crash victim, only to realize that as a girl, she had saved Zig's daughter from serious injury if not death.

What he finds as the story continues is that nothing is as it seems. There were all kinds of twists & turns that I never saw coming up to and including the end.
☼♎ Carmen the Bootyshaker Temptress ☼♎
I really enjoyed this book. It's my first book from this author and can't wait to read another. ...more
Karin Schott
Jan 12, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction, meh
I read it all the way through because I am trying to get a jump on my reading goal while life is slow. The buzz was that this was going to be a breakout novel for Meltzer. High profile blurbs on the cover. Nola being compared to Salander....blah blah blah...

PUH-LEASE! Marketing just...just stop!

Okay, what do Nola and Salander have in common? There is some ability that sets them apart. They were abused as children. They are antisocial. Well, gee.

Let's make something clear. No one can do Salander
Ms. Just One More Book  (Kris Miller)
~ 4.5 stars ~

Jim “Zig” Zigarowski lovingly puts to rest our fallen men and women at Dover Air Force Base. With each piece he puts back together, he likes to think he also puts back a piece of his shattered heart. So, when Zig sees the name Nola Brown come across his desk after a plane crash claiming seven lives, he breaks both the military’s and his own rules for the chance to work on the girl who saved his daughter’s life, giving him an additional eleven months to spend with his now deceased da
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Action/Adventure ...: March 2020 Antihero Lead Group Read: The Escape Artist by Brad Meltzer *Spoilers* 6 21 May 02, 2020 05:42PM  
Crime, Mysteries ...: Escape Artist, The by Brad Meltzer - April 2018 23 96 May 10, 2018 09:48PM  
Play Book Tag: The Escape Artist - Brad Meltzer - 3 1/2 stars 1 14 Mar 16, 2018 08:52AM  
goodreads giveaways 1 9 Jan 19, 2018 09:15AM  
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Goodreads Librari...: wrong pub date 2 15 Aug 17, 2017 12:07PM  

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Brad Meltzer is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Inner Circle, The Book of Fate, and nine other bestselling thrillers including The Tenth Justice, The First Counsel, The Millionaires, and The President’s Shadow. His newest book, The Escape Artist, debuted at #1 on the bestseller list.
In addition to his fiction, Brad is one of the only authors to ever have books on the bestseller lis

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