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Extended Audio Sample The Hot Country, by Robert Olen Butler Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (88 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Robert Olen Butler Narrator: Ray Chase Publisher: Highbridge Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Related: The Christopher Marlowe Cobb Thrillers Release Date:
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Christopher Marlowe Cobb (“Kit”), the swashbuckling early 20th-century American newspaper war correspondent, travels to Mexico in April and May of 1914, during that country’s civil war and the American invasion of Vera Cruz.

But covering the war in enemy territory and in sweltering heat isn’t enough of a challenge for Cobb. Soon, he’s falling in love with a young Mexican laundress, Luisa, who may not be as innocent as she seems, and he’s witnessing the inexplicable attempted sniper assassination of a priest (miraculously, the bullet rebounds off the cross around his neck, leaving him unharmed). Now Cobb is also trying to track down a sniper—and figure out why important German officials are coming into the city in the middle of the night from ammunition ships docked in the port.

An exciting tale of intrigue and espionage, Butler’s powerful crime-fiction debut is a thriller not to be missed.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “This high-spirited adventure by the Pulitzer Prize-winning author Robert Olen Butler is an antic concoction of genre clichés, literary sendups, personal homages, fanciful history and passages of great writing.”

    New York Times Book Review

  • “It’s an exciting story, much of it based on fact, and Butler has a good time with it. His writing is both crisp and thoughtful, his people ring true, and he offers an amusing portrait of a golden age in journalism…The Hot Country is a thinking person’s thriller, the kind of exotic adventure that, in better days, would have been filmed by Sam Peckinpah.”

    Washington Post

  • “Butler takes an often-overlooked chapter of history and turns it into a whip-smart tale of intrigue and espionage.”


  • “Enjoyable novel that should attract devotees of espionage and historical fiction.”

    Library Journal

  • “A fine stylist, Butler renders the time and place in perfect detail.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “Ray Chase’s characterization of journalist Christopher Marlowe Cobb sublimely captures his transition from war correspondent…to undercover operative.”


  • A 2012 Washington Post Notable Book for Fiction

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Doc & Charly | 1/13/2014

    " Butler brings his brilliance and a likeable protagonist to Pancho Villa's Mexico. A fun read from start to finish. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Mysterious Bookshop | 1/1/2014

    " From Pulitzer Prize winner Butler comes this exceptionally well-executed novel about a newspaper man caught up in revolutionary Mexico. Christopher Marlowe Cobb ('Kit') is a Chicago journalist living in the tumultuous time right before the First World War plunged all into total chaos and anarchy. Employing a young pickpocket to be his eyes and ears in Vera Cruz, Kit watches with the professional, removed nature of a journalist as the United States invades... then finds himself drawn into much larger affairs while investigating German activity in the area. Oftentimes in historical fiction , character (and even plot) can get lost while the author writes about "just how quaint everything was back then"; not so in The Hot Country, where setting is real without being overbearing. Furthermore, Kit is a thoroughly believable and fallible character whose wants, desires, and history serve as a major driving factor in the narrative. As Butler himself says, "If Ernest Hemingway and Indiana Jones had a bastard son, he would be Christopher Marlowe Cobb." Pancho Villa, Woodrow Wilson, and the fate of the world resting on the shoulders of one American journalist. Read this book. --Alex "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Justin | 11/30/2013

    " Pretty interesting story circa 1914. Pancho Villa, Americans, Germans in Mexico. Well written. Just not riveting. Creepy Oedipal Mother-Son relationship with main character. Eh. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 by Stefan | 11/24/2013

    " Probably 1 1/2 stars rather than two stars. Has some good moments, but really is a fairly standard example of genre fiction...almost like a all-boys story. A kind of American James Bond. Fairly derivative with occasional original touches. "

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About the Author
Author Robert Olen Butler

Robert Olen Butler is the author of more than ten novels and three story collections. In addition to a Pulitzer Prize in 1993 and a National Magazine Award in 2001 and 2005, he has received a Guggenheim Fellowship in fiction and an NEA grant, as well as the Richard and Hinda Rosenthal Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. He teaches creative writing at Florida State University.