Brad Meltzer’s new thriller gets Oval Office insight



REUTERS

Published — Wednesday 16 January 2013

Last update 16 January 2013 7:28 pm

| نسخة PDF Print News | A A

When researching his forthcoming novel about a serial killer plotting to assassinate the US president, New York Times best-selling author Brad Meltzer went straight to the top: 41st President George H.W. Bush, a fan of the author’s work.
“Bush was extremely helpful,” Meltzer, 42, told Reuters ahead of the release of “The Fifth Assassin” by Grand Central Publishing yesterday.
Meltzer explained that the former president was a fan after reading previous political thrillers he had written.
“Bush wrote me the best fan letter I ever got in my life. Then he invited me to Houston to spend some time with him as I was researching one of the books. We became friends over the course of many years,” Meltzer said in a telephone interview.
“I’ll always ask him about little details about White House life that only he and a few others could possibly know,” the author added.
“But asking a president about the hidden staircase in the White House residence is different than asking him about what it’s like to know that someone’s out there planning your death.”
Asked how he broached such a sensitive subject with Bush, Meltzer, who holds a Columbia law degree, was frank: “Maybe I should be smarter, but I just ask. They’ve dealt with far worse than me.”
“The Fifth Assassin,” Meltzer’s 12 novel, features the return of hero Beecher White and President Andrew Wallace, characters from Meltzer’s previous novel, “The Inner Circle.”
White works as an archivist at the US National Archives and belongs to the Culper Ring, a covert network of spies founded by George Washington during the American Revolution.
After White joins the Culper Ring, he learns Wallace is hiding a few sins behind his presidency.
“(White is) part me, part dream,” Meltzer said. “Twice as smart as me, but twice as broken. The truth is, I just love that our hero isn’t some silly, macho cliche. He’s an archivist. His best weapon is his brain.”
In the book, White and the Culper Ring are on the trail of a remorseless killer who sets his sights on Wallace.
The killer — who may well be someone White knows from his youth — is recreating the crimes of John Wilkes Booth, Charles J. Guiteau, Leon Czolgosz and Lee Harvey Oswald — the assassins of Presidents Abraham Lincoln, James A. Garfield, William McKinley and John F. Kennedy, respectively.
Even more disturbing, White discovers these four presidential assassins may not have been acting alone, contrary to what is written in history books.
Meltzer explained that the idea for the book came during a visit to the little-known US Army-run National Museum of Health and Medicine near Washington.
“It began with a government employee who told me that I needed to come to a museum that almost no one knew about,” he said. “Naturally, I was suspicious ... Then he told me, ‘We have pieces of Abraham Lincoln’s skull, the bullet that killed him and even the bones of John Wilkes Booth, if you want to see them.’

“But as I started looking at the items, I could feel my brain working out the plot of the thriller. What if, over the course of 100 years, the four assassins — from John Wilkes Booth to Lee Harvey Oswald — were secretly working together?”
It is familiar territory for Meltzer, who also hosts “Brad Meltzer’s Decoded,” a television series on the History Channel where he and a team of experts examine history’s mysteries.
Meltzer has also written comic books, including “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” for Dark Horse Comics as well as “Green Arrow” and “Identity Crisis,” which featured Superman and Batman, for DC Comics.
His projects after “The Fifth Assassin” include a “Decoded” book, then a children’s book and another Beecher White novel.
Grand Central Publishing is an imprint of Hachette Book Group, which is owned by French publisher Hachette Livre, a subsidiary of Lagardere Group.

What's happening around Saudi Arabia

RIYADH: Three citizens, aged above 65, and a 32-year-old expatriate have died of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) in Riyadh raising the death toll to 471 in Saudi Arabia since June 2012, the Ministry of Health said on Tuesday.It also reported...
JEDDAH: Five hospitals and health centers across the Kingdom have been ranked among the 10 top hospitals in the Arab World, according to the Webometrics Ranking of World Hospitals 2015 conducted by Cybermetrics Lab. King Faisal Specialist Hospital an...
RIYADH: The children of the martyrs and wounded soldiers will be given preference for jobs in the organization, KACST President Prince Turki bin Saud Bin Mohammad Al-Saud said Riyadh on Tuesday.On an initiative from the Ministry of Education, a two-d...
JEDDAH: The laboratory of Al-Amal Complex for Mental Health was recently ranked fifth in the RIQAS program for biochemistry out of 120 laboratories. It also came in sixth in the same program for the department of hematology among the 60 participants,...
RIYADH: Anticipating high temperatures during the Haj season, the Ministry of Health has made arrangements to install more equipment to treat heatstroke patients among pilgrims, Health Ministry spokesman Khaled Al-Mirghalani said following a meeting...
RIYADH: The National Water Company (NWC) has added a new feather to its cap by launching an e-branch (website www.nwc.com.sa) to serve the customers around the clock.The NWC, which aims to become the leading water utility in the Gulf that comes under...
DAMMAM: Traffic regulations in the Kingdom and many countries of the world dedicate the right lane of highways and roads to trucks as they are designed to carry heavy weights in contrast to the other lanes, which are allocated for lighter weight vehi...
RIYADH: The solar-power plant, “Layla,” in Aflaj province, will be opened shortly, Saleh Al-Awaji, chairman of Saudi Electricity Company (SEC), has said.The Saudi Electricity Company (SEC) is one of the signatories, along with King Abdulaziz City for...
RIYADH: The expanded facility for machine readable passports (MRPs) at the Embassy of Pakistan will help the mission process over 1,200 applications on daily basis. The new setup was inaugurated on Tuesday.Saudi Arabia hosts the largest Pakistan comm...
RIYADH: The Saudi Standards, Metrology and Quality Organization (SASO) has directed manufacturers and their agents in the Kingdom to strictly follow the safety regulations for the new cars to be marketed to the Kingdom beginning 2017.In a statement r...
RIYADH: The Ministry of Social Affairs recently honored 20 academically gifted orphans whom it had earlier sent to Japan for ten days to visit attractions that include cultural and educational institutions. Ministry of Social Affairs Undersecretary D...
JEDDAH: Prince Bandar bin Abdullah, member of the board of trustees of King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz International Foundation for Humanitarian Action, spoke at the World Scout Jamboree in Japan. He expressed his gratitude and appreciation for the invi...
JEDDAH: The Ministry of Health has issued a circular to all health sector employees to ensure they sterilize their hands prior to dealing with patients.The circular, issued by Deputy Minister for Public Health Dr. Abdul Aziz Abdullah bin Saeed, is in...
JEDDAH: The Indonesian Consulate and community have been conducting their 70th Independence Day celebrations for the past three months by having different cultural and social activities. On Tuesday, the consulate arranged a blood donation camp with t...
JEDDAH: The Specialized Penal Court in Jeddah on Tuesday issued a preliminary verdict on the imprisonment of two Saudi suspects to 38 years.The first suspect was charged with firing on the police center in Awamiyah, Qatif Province, while the other wa...

Stay Connected

Facebook