Summary and book reviews of The Tourist by Olen Steinhauer

The Tourist

By Olen Steinhauer

The Tourist
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    Readers' Opinion:

  • Hardcover: Mar 2009,
    416 pages.
    Paperback: Feb 2010,
    416 pages.

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Book Reviewed by:
Amy Reading

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Book Summary

Milo Weaver used to be a “tourist” for the CIA—an undercover agent with no home, no identity—but he’s since retired from the field to become a middle-level manager at the CIA’s New York headquarters. He’s acquired a wife, a daughter, and a brownstone in Brooklyn, and he’s tried to leave his old life of secrets and lies behind. However, when the arrest of a long-sought-after assassin sets off an investigation into one of Milo’s oldest colleagues and exposes new layers of intrigue in his old cases, he has no choice but to go back undercover and find out who’s holding the strings once and for all.

In The Tourist, Olen Steinhauer---twice nominated for an Edgar Award---tackles an intricate story of betrayal and manipulation, loyalty and risk in an utterly compelling novel that is both thoroughly modern and yet also reminiscent of the espionage genre’s luminaries: Len Deighton, Graham Greene, and John LeCarré.

MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 10, TO
TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 11, 2001

1

Four hours after his failed suicide attempt, he descended toward Aerodrom Ljubljana. A tone sounded, and above his head the seat belt sign glowed. Beside him, a Swiss businesswoman buckled her belt and gazed out the window at the clear Slovenian sky—allit had taken was one initial rebuff to convince her that the twitching American she’d been seated next to had no interest in conversation. The American closed his eyes, thinking about the morning’s failure in Amsterdam—gunfire, shattering glass and splintered wood, sirens.

If suicide is sin, he thought, then what is it to someone who doesn’t believe in sin? What is it then? An abomination of nature? Probably, because the one immutable law of nature is to continue existing. Witness: weeds, cockroaches, ants, and pigeons. All of nature’s creatures work to a single, unified purpose: to stay alive. It’s the one indisputable theory ...

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Reviews

BookBrowse

The Tourist is fast, slick, and gratifying... Though violations of rudimentary spycraft will drive some readers crazy, sometimes a story is so good at granting you an alternative look at your own world that you tug and pull to make it fit just right.   (Reviewed by Amy Reading).

Full Review Members Only (847 words).

Media Reviews
The Washington Post

[S]erious entertainment that raises interesting questions.

The Los Angeles Times

As rich and intriguing as the best of Le Carré, Deighton or Graham Greene, Steinhauer's complex, moving spy novel is perfect for our uncertain, emotionally fraught times.

The New York Times

Mr. Steinhauer, the two-time Edgar Award nominee who can be legitimately mentioned alongside John le Carré... displays a high degree of what Mr. le Carré’s characters like to call tradecraft. If he’s as smart as The Tourist makes him sound, he’ll bring back Milo Weaver for a curtain call.

Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. While plenty of breathtaking scenes ... bolster the heart-stopping action, the real story is the soul-crushing toil the job inflicts on a person who can't trust anyone, whose life is a lie fueled by paranoia.

Kirkus Reviews

Starred Review. Steinhauer manages to push the genre's darker aspects to the extreme ... without sacrificing the propulsive forward momentum. ... [Weaver] is the perfect hero for such a richly nuanced tale.

Library Journal

Starred Review. Highly recommended for all public libraries.

Author Blurb Thomas Perry
Olen Steinhauer's The Tourist is a complex, fast-paced spy novel populated by dozens of striking characters, each with an unexpected, shifting place in the puzzle.

Author Blurb Lee Child
A first-class spy novel - wry, intelligent, layered ... the kind of thing John le Carré might have written if he knew then what we know now.

Author Blurb Nelson DeMille
The Tourist is an absolutely superb contemporary espionage novel in the great tradition of the old masters of the genre. Olen Steinhauer is a wonderful storyteller who is smart, observant, and witty. The Tourist has what it take to become a classic.

Reader Reviews
pidster

Solid Read
Story well constructed and an enjoyable read. The plot runs well until approaching the end, then it gets a bit shallow and runs out of steam. My impression of the conclusion is an attempt at a Le'Carresk ...In From the Cold lit, but came off flat...   Read More

Lupoman

The Tourist
"The Tourist" is a great read. This spy thriller has many twists and turns and a few surprises to keep the reader off-balanced. The writing style is similar to Robert Ludlum's best works. The bottom line? If you love Ludlum, then you will embrace ...   Read More

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Beyond the Book

Representing the Clandestine
If Tourism, Olen Steinhauer's invented black-ops division within the CIA, were real, what would its insignia look like? Trevor Paglen has documented seventy-five shoulder patches designed for United States covert agencies in his book, I Could Tell You but Then You Would Have to Be Destroyed by Me. (The title is a translation from Latin of the patch for the Navy Air Test and Evaluation Squadron 4, at Point Mugu in California).

He submitted hundreds of Freedom of Information requests for the images, then decoded their heraldry and iconography by interviewing military men and women. If, for instance, you see a patch with five stars on top and one star on the bottom, you know it has ...

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