Saturday 18 October 2014

Review ~ The Hot Country by Robert Olen Butler

No Exit Press
18 December 2014

In 1914, war correspondent Christopher Marlow ‘Kit’  Cobb arrives in Vera Cruz, Mexico to report on the complexities of civil war.  En route to a meeting with the revolutionary Pancho Villa, Marlowe assumes a false identity in order to pursue the German diplomat Friedrich von Mensinger. However, his journey is fraught with danger and very soon Kit finds himself caught up, not just in perilous political intrigue, but also in a dangerous intimate relationship with a young Mexican woman, who may have more than a passing interest in the revolution. Kit is a dangerous protagonist, a man of great contradictions, and his overriding belief in getting things done is the fundamental focus of the novel.

There is no denying that the author is adept at this particular genre, and controls the narrative in a very accomplished way. The story is complex, full of adventure and unfurls almost like cinematography, until you can almost imagine it being one of those late night movies that grabs your attention, until almost without realising, and against your better judgement, you get drawn into the story. The plot is well controlled and very detailed; however, I have to say that I struggled with the book, particularly in the first two thirds, when I was very tempted to give up. The story, well written though it may be, just didn't grab my attention fully, and I must admit to skim reading over parts of the narrative.

If you like complicated historical fiction and enjoy starting an adventurous thriller series from the beginning then The Hot Country is a good place to start, as this sees the commencement of the Christopher Marlow Cobb series of books of which there are now three.

My thanks to Real Readers and No Exit Press for my review copy of this book.


 Robert Olen Butler


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