Fiction Previews, October 2012, Pt. 4: Butler Takes Us to The Hot Country

Butler, Robert Olen. The Hot Country: A Christopher Marlowe Cobb Thriller. Mysterious Pr: Grove Atlantic. Oct. 2012. ISBN 9780802120465. $25. THRILLER
Having ranged from fine-tuned accounts of the Vietnamese immigrant experience in the Pulitzer Prize‚ winning A Good Scent from a Strange Mountain to the wicked fun of Hell, Butler now tries something completely different: a thriller. Christopher Marlowe (Kit) Cobb, an early 20th-century American war correspondent reporting on Mexico’s civil war. He witnesses the attempted assassination of a priest and the arrival of strange ships bearing German officials‚ and that’s just the beginning of his troubles. Especially promising for your smart thriller readers; with a 12-city tour to Boston, New York, Washington, DC, Atlanta, Birmingham, Miami, Cleveland, Chicago, Minneapolis/St. Paul, St. Louis, Houston, and Phoenix.

Dekker, Ted. The Sanctuary. Center Street: Hachette. Oct. 2012. 416p. ISBN 9781599953359. $24.99. CHRISTIAN FICTION/THRILLER
Serving time for the murder of two abusive men, vigilante priest Danny Hansen is determined to abide by the rules. But when the woman he loves receives threats (and a couple of bloody fingers), he needs to break out of jail. Unless I miss my guess, suspenseful but not ugly-bloody.

Doctorow, Cory. Pirate Cinema. Tor Teen. Oct. 2012. 384p. ISBN 9780765329080. $19.99. THRILLER/YA
Boing Boing coeditor and New York Times best-selling Doctorow again offers cutting-edge fiction that helps us rethink our brave new cyberworld. In trouble for using pirated movie clips to craft his own film, Trent McCauley stumbles upon an underworld of activist artists battling a bill in Parliament that would expand restrictions on Internet creativity. The setting is a dystopian near future Britain, but it could be now. And though the book is meant for a YA audience (note the publisher), it’s too relevant‚ and Doctorow’s writing generally too good‚ for adult readers to pass up. With a seven-city tour.

Evans, Richard Paul. A Winter Dream. S. & S. Oct. 2012. 369p. ISBN 9781451628036. $19.99. POP FICTION
Shoved out of the family business by his green-with-envy siblings, Joe soon triumphs as chief adviser to the CEO of another company. Then the siblings need his help. Sound familiar? In fact, it’s based on the Old Testament story of Joseph and the Coat of Many Colors. More sparkly holiday hope from the author of the outrageously best-selling The Christmas Box, set for reissue this year in special 20th anniversary edition (ISBN 9781451696431. $14.99).

Flynn, Vince. Untitled. Emily Bestler: Atria: S. & S. Oct. 2012. 448p. ISBN 9781416595212. $27.99. THRILLER
Joe Rickman’s bodyguards are dead, and Rickman himself is missing. Bad news, because Rickman ran clandestine operations in Afghanistan for eight years, spending a quarter billion dollars in cash on who knows what. Mitch Rapp is told to find Rick or else, and here’s the snag: he doesn’t think the guy was kidnapped. Another No. 1 New York Times best seller from Flynn?

Kostigen, Thomas M. Golden Dawn. Forge. Oct. 2012. 352p. ISBN 9780765329332. $24.99. THRILLER
I hear there’s big in-house excitement for this debut thriller from a guy who’s been around the block, as ethics columnist for Dow Jones MarketWatch, a former editor of Bloomberg News, and coauthor of the New York Times best-selling The Green Book. And the premise is certainly eye-catching. The Golden Dawn is an ancient sect of Zoroastrians said to keep a secret regarding the leader who will arise before the End Times. Now the president of Iraq is exploiting this knowledge for his own unpleasant purposes, and he’ll soon have nuclear weapons to back up his efforts.

Wouk, Herman. The Lawgiver. S. & S. Oct. 2012. 256p. ISBN 9781451699388. $25.99. CD: S. & S. Audio. POP FICTION
The author of The Caine Mutiny has always wanted to write a book about Moses, and now, at age 96, he’s finally done it. It’s not a sword-and-sand spectacle, though, interestingly, it’s about a sword-and-sand spectacle. The conceit here is that when a very, very rich Australian proclaims that he’ll finance a film about Moses as long as the script looks good, ambitious young writer-director Margo Solovei throws herself into the fray. Meanwhile, a certain author named Herman Wouk is called in by the rich guy to approve the script. This should be fun.

Barbara Hoffert About Barbara Hoffert

Barbara Hoffert (, @BarbaraHoffert on Twitter) is Editor, LJ Prepub Alert; past chair of the Materials Selection Committee of the RUSA (Reference and User Services Assn.) division of the American Library Association; and past president, treasurer, and awards chair of the National Book Critics Circle.