Brad Meltzer's new thriller gets Oval Office insight

Mon Jan 14, 2013 4:54pm EST
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By Kurt Anthony Krug

(Reuters) - When researching his forthcoming novel about a serial killer plotting to assassinate the U.S. 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 on Tuesday.

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."   Continued...