cover image The Star of Istanbul: A Christopher Marlowe Cobb Thriller

The Star of Istanbul: A Christopher Marlowe Cobb Thriller

Robert Olen Butler. Grove/Atlantic/Mysterious, $25 (368p) ISBN 978-0-8021-2155-

Set in 1915, Butler’s busy second adventure featuring Christopher Marlowe Cobb (after 2012’s The Hot Country) takes the intrepid reporter, who doubles as an American spy, to war-torn Europe. Cobb travels on the Lusitania, where he’s watching Walter Brauer, a suspected German agent. Cobb also keeps an eye on hot-blooded film star Selene Bourgani, who attracts his amorous attentions, despite rumors that she, too, works for the Kaiser. When the Lusitania is torpedoed off the Irish coast, Cobb leaps into the ocean with Bourgani in his arms, but his job is far from over. He accompanies Bourgani to Turkey, where she has a score to settle involving two great empires. Butler impresses with his exceptional attention to historical detail, particularly aboard the Lusitania, but the heavy doses of melodrama may put off some thriller readers. Others may find Cobb’s ego and fearless approach to danger tiresome. Agent: Warren Frazier, John Hawkins & Associates. (Oct.)