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The Istanbul Puzzle Paperback – January 19, 2012

62 customer reviews
Book 1 of 3 in the Puzzle Series

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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.


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Avon (January 19, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1847562884
  • ISBN-13: 978-1847562883
  • Product Dimensions: 7.6 x 5 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (62 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #810,672 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

* Short listed for Irish Crime Novel of the Year.
* Top selling Irish crime author in many categories.
* #1 in Amazon charts twice, in two categories.

The Istanbul Puzzle is the first in a new series of mystery-thrillers. I visited Istanbul 6 times to research it. The next in the series, The Jerusalem Puzzle, is out too. It continues the story from The Istanbul Puzzle and features the same characters. The third in the series, The Manhattan Puzzle, arrived October 10, 2013.

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

I went to school in Dublin, drank way too much, studied English and history, then business, then IT at Oxford University. While a student, I worked as a kitchen porter in a club near the Bank of England.

I have also published a guide to social media called, Social Media is Dynamite.

In 2007 I won the Outstanding Novel Submitted award at the Southern California writer's conference. I flew back to Ireland on cloud 999. It wasn't about the money. There wasn't any. It was about knowing I was on the right track.

My research has taken me all over the world, from San Francisco to deep in the Muslim world. I like looking at the stars and listening to the stories of strangers. I hope you enjoy my novels and my guide to social media.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By JSC on January 9, 2012
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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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Frank McGrath on January 28, 2012
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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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful 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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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By HJeffK on December 26, 2012
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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Dan Thompson, Author on September 7, 2013
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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