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Amazon Asks: Brad Meltzer, On His Brainy Hero and Favorite Books

Meltzer2New York Times #1 bestseller Brad Meltzer's latest thriller--selected as one of Amazon's Best Books of January--goes on sale today.

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What's the elevator pitch for The Fifth Assassin?

A serial killer is re-creating the the crimes of all the Presidential assassinations from John Wilkes Booth to Lee Harvey Oswald, working his way up to the current President.

Your hero is a brainy archivist at the National Archives. When you first pitched the idea (with your previous book in the series, The Inner Circle), did your editor yell “an archivist?”

You really think I pitched that part? I just told her I was going to show her the President of the United States and all the great secret places of the White House. Truth is, though, she never gave it a second thought. That's why I have the best editor.

5thWho is Beecher White? An Indiana Jones for the digital age? Is he based on someone you’ve known?

Beecher isn't the best fighter. He's not the best with guns. But what he is… he's smart. Beecher is smarter than you. And smarter than me. And I love that people have responded to him because he's not about biceps and brawn. He's about brain.

What did it mean to get a quote from President George H.W. Bush?

It still feels like a practical joke. I think my Dad wanted to get the quote as a tattoo.

Will we be seeing more of Beecher White? If so, will he develop his ass-kicking skills? Hit the gym? Learn to kick box? Maybe get an Indy-style bullwhip?

All he needs is his brain. That's the best weapon.

What's on your nightstand/bedside table/Kindle?

A compass. A friend told me: You can run your life with a clock, or run it with a compass.  I chose the compass.

AgathaTop 3-5 favorite books of all time?

Book that changed your life?

Murder at the Vicarage by Agatha Christie. I still don't know what a Vicarage is. Don't care. In those first chapters, I saw a dead body. And then came that question that's haunted me since: Whodunit?

What's your most memorable author moment?

Being in Mad Magazine. Better than meeting the President.

What talent or superpower would you like to have?

Flying.

What are you obsessed with now?

The app for Zite. It knows me.

What's next for you?

Sequel to The Fifth Assassin.

Favorite line?

Stories aren't what did happen. They're what could happen.

What do you collect?

Comic books.

Best piece of fan mail you ever got?

A letter from President George H.W. Bush.

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>See all of Brad's books

>Visit his website

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