Sunday, 5 December 2010

Olen Steinhauer

One of my new "discoveries" this year has been an author called Olen Steinhauer. To date I believe he's written seven books and I've now read three of them.

The first one I read is his most recent paperback. The Tourist (2009) is a post-9/11 thriller set in the world of CIA operatives who are known as Tourists. The main character, Milo Weaver, is a former Tourist who on the face of things is hunting for an assassin. However things get complicated. The book is actually not that action-packed and is more of a character piece with some twisty plot developments to keep the reader thinking. I found the book well written and an enjoyable read so I decided to come back for more.

The second of his books that I read is The Vienna Assignment (2005). This book was also published under the title 36 Yalta Boulevard. This book is actually the third of five volumes set in a fictional unnamed Eastern European country through the post-war years. Most of the action takes place in 1967 and the main character is a spy called Brano Sev who is forced to defect to Vienna as part of an operation.

Finally I've just finished my third novel by this author. Victory Square (2008) is the fifth book in the five-book sequence set in the East and the date is now December 1989. The unnamed country now bears a stark similarity to Romania as it is undergoing a revolution and the dictator is put on trial. This was a very enjoyable read providing a recreation of the fall of the old regime with an added layer of mystery. Some old men are being targeted for death and the connection seems to be a trial in 1948. Is there a connection to the revolution? The main character in this one is Emil Brod, although Brano Sev pops up in the later stages of the book.

The author has a second Milo Weaver book currently in hardback titled The Nearest Exit. I expect it will be the next one I read before I track down the other three books I'm missing.

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