If there's a name that screams former Justice Department agent, it's Cotton Malone. Seriously. The fact that the guy is now a rare books dealer that gets involved in all sorts of political conspiracies seems like a natural segue for a guy with that name. His sidekick, you ask? Why it's Cassiopeia Vitt, of course (it had to be more cumbersome than Cotton Malone. Them's the rules.). Author Steve Berry could not have picked a better name for this adventuresome protagonist and series hero. His latest predicament, in The Venetian Betrayal, involves a healing serum, the lost tomb of Alexander the Great and a bloodthirsty despot anxious to beat Cotton to Alex's tomb and Alex at the title of Most Awesomest Conqueror. Conspiracy and historical fiction buffs unite to have Steve Berry sign this Cottony read 7 p.m. Wednesday at Barnes & Noble Lincoln Park, 7700 Northwest Highway. Call 214-739-1124.
Wed., Jan. 16, 7 p.m., 2008