Excerpt from The Tourist by Olen Steinhauer, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

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The Tourist

by Olen Steinhauer

The Tourist by Olen Steinhauer
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  • First Published:
    Mar 2009, 416 pages
    Paperback:
    Feb 2010, 416 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Amy Reading

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Still inside the airport, he spotted Angela Yates just outside the doors to the busy arrivals curb. Above business slacks, she wore a blue Viennese blazer, arms crossed over her breasts as she smoked and stared through the gray morning light at the field of parked cars in front of the airport. He didn’t approach her. Instead, he found a bathroom and checked himself in the mirror. The paleness and sweat had nothing to do with aviatophobia. He ripped off his tie, splashed water on his cheeks, wiped at the pink edges of his eyes and blinked, but still looked the same.

“Sorry to get you up,” he said once he’d gotten outside.

Angela jerked, a look of terror passing through her lavender eyes. Then she grinned. She looked tired, but she would be. She’d driven four hours to meet his flight, which meant she’d had to leave Vienna by 5:00 a.m. She tossed the unfinished smoke, a Davidoff, then punched his shoulder and hugged him. The smell of tobacco was comforting. She held him at arm’s length. “You haven’t been eating.”

“Overrated.”

“And you look like hell.”

He shrugged as she yawned into the back of her hand.

“You going to make it?” he asked.

“No sleep last night.”

“Need something?”

Angela got rid of the smile. “Still gulping amphetamines?” “Only for emergencies,” he lied, because he’d taken that last dose for no other reason than he’d wanted it, and now, as the tremors shook through his bloodstream, he had an urge to empty the rest down his throat. “Want one?”

Please.

They crossed an access road choked with morning taxis and buses heading into town, then followed concrete steps down to the parking lot. She whispered, “Is it Charles these days?”

“Almost two years now.”

“Well, it’s a stupid name. Too aristocratic. I refuse to use it.” “I keep asking for a new one. A month ago I showed up in Nice, and some Russian had already heard about Charles Alexander.”

“Oh?”

“Nearly killed me, that Russian.”

She smiled as if he’d been joking, but he hadn’t been. Then his snapping synapses worried he was sharing too much. Angela knew nothing about his job; she wasn’t supposed to.

“Tell me about Dawdle. How long have you worked with him?”

“Three years.” She took out her key ring and pressed a little black button until she spotted, three rows away, a gray Peugeot winking at them. “Frank’s my boss, but we keep it casual. Just a small Company presence at the embassy.” She paused. “He was sweet on me for a while. Can you imagine? Couldn’t see what was right in front of him.”

She spoke with a tinge of hysteria that made him fear she would cry. He pushed anyway. “What do you think? Could he have done it?”

Angela popped the Peugeot’s trunk. “Absolutely not. Frank Dawdle wasn’t dishonest. Bit of a coward, maybe. A bad dresser. But never dishonest. He didn’t take the money.” Charles threw in his bag. “You’re using the past tense, Angela.”

“I’m just afraid.”

“Of what?”

Angela knitted her brows, irritated. “That he’s dead. What do you think?”

2

She was a careful driver these days, which he supposed was an inevitable result of her two Austrian years. Had she been stationed in Italy, or even here in Slovenia, she would’ve ignored her turn signals and those pesky speed limit notices.

To ease the tension, he brought up old London friends from when they both worked out of that embassy as vaguely titled “attachés.” He’d left in a hurry, and all Angela knew was that his new job, with some undisclosed Company department, required a steady change of names, and that he once again worked under their old boss, Tom Grainger. The rest of London station believed what they’d been told—that he had been fired. She said, “I fly up for parties now and then. They always invite me. But they’re sad, you know? All diplomatic people. There’s something intensely pitiful about them.”

Excerpted from The Tourist by Olen Steinhauer. Copyright © 2009 by Olen Steinhauer. Excerpted by permission of St. Martin's Minotaur, a division of Macmillan, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

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