The Resource The hot country, Robert Olen Butler

The hot country, Robert Olen Butler

Label
The hot country
Title
The hot country
Statement of responsibility
Robert Olen Butler
Creator
Subject
Genre
Language
eng
Summary
A sweeping saga of espionage, suspense, action and love set in Mexico leading up to the beginning of World War I. In "The Hot Country", Christopher Marlowe Cobb ("Kit"), the swash-buckling early 20th century American newspaper war correspondent travels to Mexico in April and May of 1914, during that country's civil war, the American invasion of Vera Cruz and the controversial presidency of Victoriano Huerta, El Chacal (The Jackal). Covering the war in enemy territory and sweltering heat, Cobb falls in love with Luisa, a young Mexican laundress, who is not as innocent as she seems. The intrepid war reporter soon witnesses a priest being shot. The bullet rebounds on the cross the holly man wears around his neck and leaves him unharmed. Cobb employs a young pickpocket to help him find out the identity of the sniper and, more importantly, why important German officials are coming into the city in the middle of the night from ammunition ships docked in the port
Member of
Tone
Writing style
Review
  • /* Starred Review */ Butler takes his first crack at crime fiction with this stylish historical thriller set in civil war–torn Mexico in 1914. Christopher Marlowe Cobb (call him “Kit”) is a newspaper war correspondent in search of action, so naturally he winds up in Vera Cruz just as the American navy is staging a very peculiar mini-invasion. Kit would like to get to the bottom of that, and he would also like to score an interview with Pancho Villa. Then there’s the matter of the Mexican woman who may be a laundress but may also be something very different—and with whom Kit has very definitely fallen in love. And let’s not forget the German entourage: What are they doing in Vera Cruz? Along the way to answering all those questions, Kit gets more directly involved in the fighting than he’d planned. (And so do we: Butler’s multipage, one-sentence description of a gun battle between Villa’s troops and the Federales is a virtuoso feat of breathless, high-energy descriptive prose.) The plot of this multistranded thriller is at times difficult to follow, but the character studies, sense of place, and mood are utterly gripping. The hard-bitten war correspondent is a staple of the thriller genre, of course, but Butler brings new depth and flair to the familiar figure; only Fowler in Graham Greene’s The Quiet American (1956) or perhaps Russell Cruz-Price, Kent Harrington’s dissolute journalist in Red Jungle (2005), comes close to Kit Marlowe for that irresistible mix of been-there-twice-seen-this-shit-before cynicism and its polar opposite, an unquenchable desire to see if the next card turned just might be something special. Reviewers feel that way, too, sometimes, but the card this book turns is definitely something special. -- Ott, Bill (Reviewed 11-15-2012) (Booklist, vol 109, number 6, p24)
  • Pulitzer Prize–winner Butler's ambitious first crime novel introduces Christopher Marlowe "Kit" Cobb, an American war correspondent who has come to Vera Cruz, Mexico, in 1914 to cover the country's civil war. A passionate believer in the power of a free press and the moral superiority of the United States, Kit is no mere observer. He assumes a false identity to pursue German diplomat Friedrich von Mensinger en route to a meeting with revolutionary leader Pancho Villa, and the correspondent soon finds himself up to his neck in political intrigue. The large cast includes laundress Luisa Morales, a pretty señorita with whom Kit becomes romantically involved; Gerhard Vogel, an American-born German soldier; and a resourceful pickpocket, Diego, who acts as Kit's eyes and ears. A fine stylist, Butler (A Small Hotel) renders the time and place in perfect detail, though readers should be prepared for a sluggish plot that lingers over the minutiae of the political machinations. Agent: Warren Frazier, John Hawkins & Associates. (Oct.) --Staff (Reviewed August 20, 2012) (Publishers Weekly, vol 259, issue 34, p)
  • Pulitzer Prize-winner Butler is a restless, questing writer whose topics and style vary widely from book to book. His 13th novel (after A Small Hotel ) is his first spy thriller, and it's good. When crack reporter Christopher Marlowe Cobb lands in Vera Cruz, Mexico, in April 1914, he finds no war to report on. American troops are on the ground, but President Woodrow Wilson seems reluctant to move them. The Germans, sensing an advantage in the Mexican resentment of Americans, dispatch a secret emissary to woo Pancho Villa to their side. Can Kit stop him? VERDICT The plot clips along, and Kit is an attractive hero. But Butler writes action scenes almost too well: the stream-of-consciousness tone doesn't mesh with the novel's punchy prose style and Kit's ironic asides. But this is a minor criticism in an otherwise enjoyable novel that should attract devotees of espionage and historical fiction. Let's hope we see more of Kit Cobb, reluctant hero. [See Prepub Alert, 4/30/12.]— David Keymer, Modesto CA --David Keymer (Reviewed August 1, 2012) (Library Journal, vol 137, issue 13, p81)
  • Prolific Pulitzer Prize winner Butler (A Small Hotel, 2011, etc.) casts his net in distinctly shallower waters when he follows the adventures of a brash American journalist in 1914 Mexico. Revolution is raging, as usual, when Christopher "Kit" Marlowe Cobb arrives in Mexico to interview Gen. Victoriano Huerta. Preoccupied with the rebels Emiliano Zapata and Venustiano Carranza, el Presidente declines to speak with the press after all. By that time, however, an international incident is brewing between Mexico and the U.S., and Kit figures there'll be plenty of work of one sort or another for him and his Underwood. So he's already on the alert when oompah band musician Gerhard Vogel suddenly reveals himself as an American spy who shares Kit's interest in the question of why the German ship Ypiranga has disgorged sinister "businessman" Friedrich von Mensinger and a number of his countrymen and loosed them on Vera Cruz. Tearing himself from his abortive pursuit of Luisa Morales, who washes his clothes but refuses to provide other services, Kit joins Vogel in his investigation of Mensinger only to find himself working alone when Vogel's throat is cut. Acting with more decisiveness than prudence, Kit pinches the passport from Vogel's corpse and prepares to follow Mensinger to Coahuila, where strongman Pancho Villa reigns supreme. There'll be more subdiplomatic shenanigans, more violence (Kit ends up killing four men), and, yes, more romance before Kit, home again in Chicago, receives a letter from President Wilson that sends him back to Mexico for a coda that seems oddly tacked on. Kit is such an ingratiating narrator that you almost forget how unthrilling his larky debut is. Maybe the planned series can provide him with adventures more worthy of his steel.(Kirkus Reviews, September 1, 2012)
http://library.link/vocab/ext/novelist/bookUI
10145254
http://library.link/vocab/creatorName
Butler, Robert Olen
Dewey number
813.6
Index
no index present
Literary form
fiction
http://library.link/vocab/resourcePreferred
True
Series statement
Christopher Marlowe Cobb novels
Series volume
0001
http://library.link/vocab/subjectName
  • War correspondents
  • Murder
  • Veracruz (Veracruz-Llave, Mexico)
  • Mexico
Label
The hot country, Robert Olen Butler
Instantiates
Publication
Dimensions
24 cm.
Extent
326 p.
Isbn
9780802120465
Isbn Type
(hbk.)
Specific material designation
regular print
System control number
(Sirsi) i9780802120465
Label
The hot country, Robert Olen Butler
Publication
Dimensions
24 cm.
Extent
326 p.
Isbn
9780802120465
Isbn Type
(hbk.)
Specific material designation
regular print
System control number
(Sirsi) i9780802120465

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