Bunky Millerman caught me from behind on the first day of Woody Wilson's little escapade in Vera Cruz. Bunky and his Kodak and I had gone down south of the border a couple of weeks earlier for the Post-Express and the whole syndicate. I'd been promised an interview with the tin-pot General Huerta who was running the country. He had his hands full with Zapata and Villa and Carranza, and by the time I got there, el Presidente was no longer in a mood to see the American press. I was ready to beat it back north, but then the Muse of Reporters shucked off her diaphanous gown for me and made the local commandant in Tampico, on the Gulf coast, go a little mad. He grabbed a squad of our Navy Bluejackets who were ashore for gasoline and showers and marched them through the street as Mexican prisoners. That first madness passed quick and our boys were let go right away, but old Woodrow had worked himself up. He demanded certain kinds of apologies and protocols, which the stiff-necked Huerta wouldn't give. Everybody started talking about war. Then I got wind of a German munitions ship heading for Vera Cruz, and while the other papers were still picking at bones in the capital, I hopped a train over the mountains and into the tierra caliente. I arrived in Vera Cruz, which was the hot country all right, a god-forsaken port town in a desolate sandy plain with a fierce, hot northern wind. But I figured I'd be Johnny-on-the-spot.
"This high-spirited adventure by the Pulitzer Prize-winning author Robert Olen Butler is an antic concoction of genre clichs, literary sendups, personal homages, fanciful history and passages of great writing." The 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 journalismThe Hot Country is a thinking person's thriller, the kind of exotic adventure that, in better days, would have been filmed by Sam Peckinpah." Patrick Anderson, The Washington Post
"Butler takes an often-overlooked chapter of history and turns it into a whip-smart tale of intrigue and espionage." CNN.com
"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
"Butler has already established himself as one of America's finest writers. The Hot Country will only add to his stature and whet readers' appetites for sequels." The Advocate
"[The Hot Country is] Robert Olen Butler's fast-paced entre into adventure tales. Add a little Indiana Jones and you get the picture: a smart guy also handy with his fists and firearms, burdened with a dedication to finding out the truth." -Plaza de Armas