When Brad Meltzer's latest thriller novel, The Escape Artist, hit the stands last Tuesday, the book's first twist had already been blown -- on purpose, and by design.
The revelation that Nola Brown, the body brought into a morgue at the start of the novel, was also the woman revealed to be still alive and on the run by the end of its first chapter, is in the truest sense of the word a spoiler -- and those who had not read the official synopsis or paid attention to the book's marketing said in their GoodReads and Amazon reviews that they were glad, since that first surprise kickstarted the book's twisting narrative arc. Meltzer, though, does not think so -- even though he acknowledges how much fun it is to go into these things cold.
"You find that out in chapter one, so I don't think that's a spoiler," Meltzer told ComicBook.com. "In fact, you find it on the book flap -- it's literally on the book flap. The best read of The Escape Artist is my editor, who basically got it cold and I just said, 'Read this.' And he knew nothing. That's why when 'The Judas Contract' came out, the very best read of that is when you turn that page and Deathstroke is talking to Terra -- and your jaw hit the ground, because you didn't know it was coming. That's why anyone who watched The Crying Game and didn't know the spoiler before it happened, had the best experience of that movie."
Meltzer, who has written comics before and who has a story coming up with artist John Cassaday in Action Comics #1000, contrasted the "Who is Nola Brown?" marketing campaign for The Escape Artist with the way he and DC Comics handled his superhero murder mystery, Identity Crisis.
"It's why when I did Identity Crisis, one of the things that I fight for is don't give out the reader copies," Meltzer continued. "Don't put the things in Previews, don't put the previews out there. Let's bring surprise back to comics. It was one of my huge things that I fought for. I didn't have to fight for it; DC was absolutely behind it as well. And it's what I loved about in the last Star Wars movie. They didn't just reveal everything in a preview. The experience is always the best when you know nothing. But even that being said, that's the first chapter, so I think you can ruin the first chapter and still get a great read. "