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The Istanbul Puzzle Kindle Edition

4.1 out of 5 stars 65 customer reviews

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Length: 432 pages Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled

"The Short Drop" by Matthew FitzSimmons
Meet the assassin The Washington Post calls "a doozy of a sociopath" in this debut thriller from Matthew FitzSimmons. Available on Kindle and in paperback.

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Editorial Reviews


'A Turkish delight for thriller fans.' Yorkshire Evening Post
'A superbly executed thriller.' Irish Examiner
'An impressive debut; well written, beautifully descriptive, and with a smart dialogue and a compelling air of menace throughout.' The Lancashire Evening Post 

•'This stylish conspiracy thriller is a Turkish delight…combines plenty of stirring action with fascinating historical detail about a city and a country [Laurence] quite obviously loves.' Irish Independent

• 'A brisk plot…which draws the reader into a conspiratorial rapport…He's come late to fiction, clearly he means to enjoy it.' Telegraph

Book Description

A brutal murder. An ancient temple. A long-lost treasure.

Product Details

  • File Size: 10748 KB
  • Print Length: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Avon (January 19, 2012)
  • Publication Date: January 19, 2012
  • Sold by: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B005S9KQ8Y
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #315,274 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

* Short listed for Irish Crime Novel of the Year,
* Top selling Irish mystery author,
* Translated into 11 languages,
* #1 in the Amazon charts, in two categories.

The Istanbul Puzzle is the first in this series of mystery-thrillers. Laurence visited Istanbul 6 times to research it. The Jerusalem Puzzle continues the story and features the same characters. The third in the series, The Manhattan Puzzle, arrived October, 2013 in the UK and October, 2014 in the U.S..

Laurence's roots go back to a small estate deep in the Mountains of Mourne, near the Silent Valley, in County Down, Northern Ireland.

In 2007 he won the Outstanding Novel Submitted award at the Southern California writer's conference.

His research has taken him all over the world, from San Francisco to deep in the Muslim world.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I won a contest sponsored by to receive a proof copy of The Istanbul Puzzle, so this is a pre-publication review.

I won't go over the plot, which you can read in the book description, but I will tell you that this book does what a thriller is supposed to do--keep the reader on edge with every turn of the page.

The Istanbul Puzzle weaves elements together in a plot that is very believable in the current political/religious climate. What makes this book even more enjoyable is Laurence O'Bryan's knowledge of Istanbul, which is obvious in his descriptive passages of the city. O'Bryan evokes all the senses, and makes the reader feel as if he/she is right there. I like to learn something when reading a novel--even a thriller--and this book did not disappoint. I feel as if I've visited the city and the beautiful Hagia Sophia, the museum that had "once been the Islamic world's St. Peter's."

I'm eagerly anticipating O'Bryan's next novel in the series titled, The Jerusalem Puzzle. He also has a website where he posts puzzles related to the book. What fun!
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book reads like a film script - scene after scene rolls before the eyes. It's a pleasure to read, and every chapter hooks into the next. The story is simple: Sean Ryan goes to Istanbul to investigate the death of his friend Alek in an undergorund cavern, gets involved with Isabel, and faces increasing threats and risks. It's a plot straight out of Ian Fleming, but Sean is not James Bond - he's more of a HItchcock hero - think Cary Grant in North by North West - an ordinary man dealing with extraordinarily situations he finds himself in. There are some lovely Fleming-like descriptions (tour buses like "larvae") and the climax is nail-biting. Buy it!
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By GeoffJ on February 11, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Great first book by this author, from the first page to the last page this book was the ultimate thriller. After reading the first chapter I was unable to put the book down until I had read the last page. It is easy reading and the descriptions of the temples of Instanbul are so vivid. I can not wait for the next book in the series.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
If you have read my other reviews, you might have noticed that I normally reserve 5 star ratings for what I consider to be "true classics," such as The Trinity from Leon Uris. So by giving The Istanbul Puzzle a 5 Star rating, am I saying that it is a classic? Clearly no but I would give this book 4 Stars and it is getting a one star bump because it far exceeds most debut novels on the debut novel grading curve (duh!) Mr. Laurence O'Bryan is really onto something here and, while not perfect, his story is not only far ahead of most debuts but is clearly written, fast paced and, most importantly, really fun to read.

I wont summarize in too much detail but here are some brief storylines. The book splits time (not evenly) between Turkey and Great Britain and primarily follows a character named Sean Ryan. Sean runs a company that is studying mosaics at the Hagia Sophia in Instanbul when his partner and friend is savagely murdered. Of course, in the same vain as many great heroic characters before him, Sean heads off to Turkey to try to discover what happened to his friend. He is welcomed there by a group of unknown enemies that would clearly like him dead and from there, the story spirals off into a wonderful action adventure thriller...think The DaVinci Code, only more believable.

The thing that makes this book such a great book is that Mr. O'Bryan has really taken the time to fill in his characters. Sean Ryan isn't some schmuck that, for no reason, goes running into harms way in Instanbul. Sean is someone that has suffered terrible loss and is still, in many ways, grieving. In some respects, I think that Mr. O'Bryan wanted to create the impression that his primary character had nothing to lose in living and, as such, was willing to do things that most of would never consider.
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Format: Paperback
I have to admit that ever since Dan Brown seemed to revolutionise the Historical Thriller genre, I've become extremely fond of these Uncover-A-Long-Lost-Treasure-That-Will-Change-The-World-As-We-Know-It type books; they've even become a sort of guilty pleasure. Released in 2012, The Istanbul Puzzle comes from Irish writer, Laurence O'Bryan, who attempts to add his own unique voice to the mix, by introducing Sean Ryan, who's dragged into a sinister terrorist plot when he is summoned to Turkey to identify the body of his dead colleague. Beheaded by a known terrorist group and the video uploaded onto YouTube, Sean finds himself urging to find out more ... and so begins The Istanbul Puzzle.

As Sean delves deeper into what his co-worker was working on inside the ancient temple of Hagia Sophia, he is joined on his quest by British diplomat, Isabel Sharp, who suspects something more sinister is afoot. The quest leads them around this atmospheric and busy city, into the depths of the ancient temple itself and even find themselves underground in old World War II bunkers that predate the event by centuries. It's classic adventure with a modern vibe and a lethal virus thrown in to spice things up even more.

What stands out, pretty much from the off, is how much detail the author goes into when describing the old city of Istanbul. It's extremely atmospheric and full of character, which adds ounces of realism into a genre that often likes to mix factual history with fictional treasures. And what also impresses, is how not only does O'Bryan go into visual detail, he adds smells and sounds to his descriptions too, which not only adds to the credibility, but also gives us readers a fully three dimensional world - we almost don't need to visit the city ourselves.
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