The Chris Voss Show Podcast – Picture in the Sand by Peter Blauner

Picture in the Sand by Peter Blauner

“On rare occasions I read a book that reminds me of why I fell in love with storytelling in the first place. This is such a book.” ―Stephen King

Peter Blauner’s epic Picture in the Sand is a sweeping intergenerational saga told through a grandfather’s passionate letters to his grandson, passing on the story of his political rebellion in 1950s Egypt in order to save his grandson’s life in a post-9/11 world.

When Alex Hassan gets accepted to an Ivy League university, his middle-class Egyptian-American family is filled with pride and excitement. But that joy turns to shock when they discover that he’s run off to the Middle East to join a holy war instead. When he refuses to communicate with everyone else, his loving grandfather Ali emails him one last plea. If Alex will stay in touch, his grandfather will share with Alex – and only Alex – a manuscript containing the secret story of his own life that he’s kept hidden from his family, until now.

It’s the tale of his romantic and heartbreaking past rooted in Hollywood and the post-revolutionary Egypt of the 1950s, when young Ali was a movie fanatic who attained a dream job working for the legendary director Cecil B. DeMille on the set of his epic film, The Ten Commandments. But Ali’s vision of a golden future as an American movie mogul gets upended when he is unwittingly caught up in a web of politics, espionage, and real-life events that change the course of history.

It’s a narrative he’s told no one for more than a half-century. But now he’s forced to unearth the past to save a young man who’s about to make the same tragic mistakes he made so long ago.

About the author
Peter Blauner is the author of eight novels, including SLOW MOTION RIOT, winner of an Edgar Allan Poe award for best first novel from Mystery Writers of America, and THE INTRUDER, a New York Times bestseller. He began his career as a journalist for New York magazine in the 1980s – covering crime, politics, and other kinds of bad behavior – and segued into writing fiction in the 1990s. His short fiction has been anthologized in BEST AMERICAN MYSTERY STORIES and on NPR’s SELECTED SHORTS FROM SYMPHONY SPACE. In recent years, he has also written for several television shows, including Law & Order: SVU and the CBS series, Blue Bloods. His newest novel is SUNRISE HIGHWAY, published in September 2018, by Minotaur/St. Martin’s Press. He lives in Brooklyn, N.Y. with his wife, author Peg Tyre.