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All the Old Knives

by Olen Steinhauer

All the Old Knives by Olen Steinhauer X
All the Old Knives by Olen Steinhauer
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  • Published Mar 2015
    224 pages
    Genre: Thrillers

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There are currently 20 member reviews
for All the Old Knives
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  • Mary B. (St Paul, MN)
    I enjoyed this book very much. I have read two other books by Olen Steinhauer and liked them very much. All the Old Knives takes place in one small setting with two main characters, but it has all the suspense and intrigue that Mr Steinhauer's other books generate. Although the premise of the two main characters getting together seems uneventful it is anything but as the story and the mystery unfolds. The story is told in both characters voices and thoughts as they relive a certain event. As the story goes back and forth between the two, the reader is unsure of their motives and the eventual outcome. A very good read.
  • Maggie R. (Canoga Park, CA)
    Another winner from Olen Steinhauer
    I read and loved the Milo Weaver trilogy and The Cairo Affair. The Old Knives is something different. Shorter, with a more compact but still twisty plot, fewer characters but intrigueing. When I finished, I wanted to go back and reread to catch the clues and misdirections. Highly recommended for espionage fans and for those who are not yet sold.
  • Alison F. (Clearwater, FL)
    Dinner for old times' sake
    Olen Steinhauer's All the Old Knives turns a spy thriller into a study of the characters of two spies, one active and one now retired. They are also former lovers and purportedly are getting together to catch up and rehash theories regarding a terrorist incident in Vienna. But spy motives are never as they seem and over the course of their get-together dinner we wonder who is playing who as we learn the circumstances surrounding their relationship and the terrorist event. Not a traditional spy thriller, this book kept me on edge and made me uncomfortable observing their dinner, not unlike Herman Koch's The Dinner. The framework of the evening worked well to tell this whodunit and the tension built throughout the evening to its sad conclusion. I recommend reading it in a sitting or two but it is compelling enough to make this easy. Recommend highly!
  • Patricia K. (Oak Park, CA)
    All the Old Knives
    All The Old Knives was a good read. It was a quick book, I read it in two days. The setting is unusual for a spy story, mostly over dinner, with the events that brought the old lovers to dinner slowly unfolding throughout the evening.

    What really hit me was how perfect the title for the book is. From Phaedrus "all the old knives that have rusted in my back, I drive in yours", sets the stage for the story. This was my first Olen Stenhauer book, and I will read more.
  • Mary Ellen L. (Canfield, OH)
    All the Old Knives
    Although a long time fan of mystery thrillers, this was my first read by Olen Steinhauer. I started the first few chapters, then put it aside until I had more time. I soon discovered, however, that although this is not a lengthy novel, it is best read in one or two sittings, due to the intricacies of a complex plot and characters. It is also a most unique thriller with an unusual plot presentation during the reunion dinner of its two main characters. Definitely worth that one-sitting read.
  • Mike H. (Knoxville, TN)
    All the Old Knives
    Once again, Steinhauer succeeds in keeping me up late! This book is a quick read but very gripping. Just when you think you have figured out 'whodunnit' he drops another bomb. The style is very interesting-each chapter is written from one character's perspective. Once you reach the half-way point in the book, be prepared to finish it in one reading because you won't be able to put it down!
  • Christopher R. (Brooklyn, NY)
    An atypical spy love story
    I had the pleasure of winning "All the old Knives" by Olen Stenhauer through a FIRST IMPRESSIONS giveaway. I was blown away! It's difficult to really narrow down this book to one genre. On the surface, it's a spy thriller; but when you peel away the layers of the very intense plot, it's so much more. As I began reading, I drew some comparisons to "Same time, next year," the brilliant play by Bernard Slate about a romantic couple who meet once a year for 24 years to catch up on their lives. In Stenhauer's novel, two ex -lovers meet at a restaurant to catch up on old times. But then it becomes a mystery novel. These aren't two ordinary individuals; they are CIA case officers who both regret their actions involving a plane hostage situation years ago in Vienna that ended tragically. This initially friendly conversation about the past soon becomes a chess game where the protagonists take turns trying to find out what the other knows. The reader is taken on a wild ride as Stenhauer slowly reveals what happened during that flight and who is responsible. I hadn't enjoyed the unraveling of a mystery this much since Julian Barnes' "The sense of an ending." The narrative is split up into chapters alternating between the male and female protagonist's POV. The ending is emotionally charged, yet completely satisfying. I could not stop reading this book, and was sad for the ride to have to end. I recommend this novel to anyone who enjoys a complex and cerebral affair.
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