Book Review – List Book – A Conspiracy of Tall Men by Noah Hawley

My Rating - Fourstar

I never did see where the tall men came in.

Linus Owen believes in conspiracy theories – teaches conspiracy theory at a small college in California, in fact. His two best friends are conspiracy theorists too.  At first the book looks as if it will be a humorous send up of conspiracy theories generally.

But early in the book, Linus is informed that his wife has been killed in a plane crash in Florida – when she was supposed to be visiting her mother in Chicago. Linus is sent to identify her body.  Naturally, he assumes she has been the victim of some conspiracy.  He gets his two best friends, Roy and Edward working on trying to get to the bottom of it.

Despite the fact that almost all the character descriptions are hilarious, it turns out that there is a conspiracy after all. In fact, the whole thing appears as convoluted as the supposed conspiracy to kill President Kennedy.  I had trouble keeping up.  There may be more than one conspiracy going on here.

The other two agents claim to be from the FBI. One is blond, skinny, and dressed in the type of suit Linus had envisioned buying to impress his wife.  The other wears a mustache and something cheap and blue.  They have told him their names are Forbes and Buckley (no first names), but Linus thinks they could be anybody, CIA, DEA, the list is endless.  The truth is, Forbes works for the CIA, though even Buckley is not aware of it.  He spends his days doing things he cannot tell his wife about.

Hawley, Noah, A Conspiracy of Tall Men, (p. 44)

Ultimately, as with most stories lately, things turn out not to be as they seem. Linus wife, it turns out, is not dead after all.  But that does not lessen the conspiracy business.  In fact, it seems to only make it worse.

The main conspiracy appears pretty bad. But one is left wondering what it is that the conspirators are trying to accomplish by creating an excuse to declare martial law so they can establish a dictatorship.  And how they figure this to be in the interest of national security.

In the end Linus is saved from the conspiracy, only to discover that there may be an even worse conspiracy about. Even at the very end, we don’t know if he will be able to recover his wife and friends again.

Wealth is a relationship, Linus. It’s not something to be taken lightly.  Do you know how many people there are in this country without even a hundred dollars to their name?  Tens of thousands, maybe even hundreds of thousands.  How can we let those people decide what happens to the rest of us?

Hawley, Noah, A Conspiracy of Tall Men, (p. 363)

If you aren’t already paranoid, you will be after reading this book. And this week of all times, you  probably should be even more afraid.

Cover image from Goodreads.

Title:                     A Conspiracy of Tall Men

Author:                Noah Hawley     

Publisher:            Pocket Books                     

Copyright:           1998                                   

Format:                Paperback

Genre:                  Mystery              

ISBN:                    0-671-03824-9                                

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