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Showing 1-10 of 246 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 393 reviews
on March 22, 2015
We are in the underbelly of the beast here with only an occasional trip into the sunshine of Disney World. The CIA, Homeland Security, USA government post 9/11 (Bush administration) are evil, willing to maim and murder for world dominance and treasured oil. Only the terrorists will stand up to the USA. So now the scene is set.
As for the writing, how many times can characters revisit, review, rehash the events in the storyline?? A lot! Too many! I had to be part of the endless speculation. There were interesting and exciting bits to the story but the pages of tedious speculation in between were often mind numbing.
And once we learn the life story of a key character introduced late into the story, who creates havoc and leaves a trail of death and destruction, the wife of our lead character is impressed and labels her "cool".
I did finish the book but admit to skimming in the last 100 pages just to bring it to closure. So I can say, I always finish a book that I start.
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on November 16, 2014
I have a nitpicky complaint about this book, but it's one that ruined my trust in the author and caused me to enjoy the book less. The wife of the main character is supposed to be the director of Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library at Columbia University, a place I know very well from my grad student days, and Steinhauer's characterization of her is frankly redonkulous, knowing as I do what that directorship actually means. This character comes across as a meek person in her mid-thirties whose education about design mainly comes from the magazines she cataloged when working in a library at MIT, who is unworldly, untraveled, and uncultured. Having crossed paths with a few directors of major research libraries at Ivy League institutions, I can say that one would absolutely never become a director of a library such as Avery without being worldly, very well educated, well-traveled, a little bit aggressive, and well more advanced in one's career than once could possibly be at the age of, say, 35 to 40. It seemed an asinine mischaracterization that belittled several things simultaneously, including librarianship, Avery, Columbia University, and women.

As for the plot it was a book version of your typical American espionage movie. Enjoyable enough at the time but not making it on any "all-time best" lists.
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on May 30, 2015
Here is a detailed, rather complex spy novel, carefully thought out with many surprises and continuing uncertainties....in the realm of a Le Carre book. There are many characters, so reading cannot be casual: you must read carefully to keep up with events and connections. Unlike so many mystery/thriller/spy reads there's no skimming in this one; but this meaty, in-depth spy story pays great benefits with turns, reversals and unexpected surprises. All the characters, regardless of their position of importance, are well defined in three-dimensional ways to provide individual identity. I read this with great satisfaction. ALERT: not all the bad guys get caught, so there is a sequel...
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on May 14, 2014
I'm sorry, Steinhauer fans, that I could not even prioritize the time to speed-read the last 46% of this series debut. The travelogue details ring true, so one has the impression the author has visited the exotic locales, eaten the food, precisely written down the street names. But the joy stops there, and the main character's moral ambiguity too often grates. Unable to develop any affinity for the family under seige. Tradecraft figures, the book-learned kind, while plot doesn't play much of a part. A series of awkward action scenes, set pieces and cardboard dialogue can't animate a cast in search of a conflict. Perhaps a map with dotted lines would have helped. To paraphrase my old English teacher, "You are better advised to read the classics."
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on July 29, 2017
This one made me think of the detectives of earlier years, like in the John LeCarre novels. Milo isn't really that old, but he comes across as a senior spy. As a character he's likable, loyal, and prone to introspection. Overall I enjoyed the story and will read Milo Weaver book 2.
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on September 16, 2014
This is part of the Milo Weaver series of novels. Everyone who loves spy novels is looking for the successor to John Lecarre. I think there are only two writers in that contest--Olen Steinhauer and British writer Charles Cummin. Both authors spin excellent tales. What they share with Lecarre are flawed characters who are skeptics about the policies of those who give directives from above. None of their characters are super heroes or great womanizers in the style of James Bond. Neither the American Steinhauer or Brit Cummin have approached the summit reached by John Lecarre of the spy novel as great literature but both are still young. Milo Weaver is a deeply flawed substance abusing character with a shadowy background which he hides from both the CIA and his wife Tina. His background is explored and revealed gradually throughout "The Tourist." This is a skillfully told in a carefully drawn character development that has roots in the cold war and the radical politics of the 1960s. But this is definitely a post cold war spy story. This is, in a sense, a passing of the torch. Most of the really great Lecarre books are rooted in the great cold war struggle between east and west. Lecarre continues to write beautifully about post cold war spycraft. But a much younger group of writers will continue this genre writing in their own very distinctive styles. I plan to read next Steinhauer's new novel "The Cairo Affair" where he leaves behind Milo Weaver and creates a new cast of characters.
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VINE VOICEon March 3, 2014
It's been a long time since I've read a spy novel that is complex and sophisticated, in the same league with LeCarre and Graham Greene. The Tourist is that book and Milo Weaver is that spy.

The concept focuses on a black ops group in what is presumably the CIA (or perhaps the NSA). The people who work here are referred to as "tourists" because they travel around the world posing as tourists, going in and out of various nations to conduct undercover operations that, we assume, have some rational objective, but what that is never becomes clear. Weaver has many names and has participated in many black operations. When we first meet him he is out of the business, or so he believes.

The conflict is that Weaver also has a family -- a wife and step-daughter, both of whom he adores. He leaves them to complete the proverbial 'one, last job,' which of course turns out to be a huge, complicated mess that spins out of control -- for Milo and everyone else involved. There are some interesting characters that Milo comes into contact with, and none of them are either completely "good" or "bad." Each one has some sort of dark side and they all seem to be competing against one another, even those who all work for the good ol' USA.

I don't want to give away any plot details, but I will say that nothing is as it seems and, in the end, different readers may not agree on exactly what took place. We are left with a good deal of ambiguity, which may be the reason some readers did not find this novel enjoyable. I am the opposite. I dislike books where everything ends up conveniently resolved, since life is obviously not that way and in the spy world, apparently, one can never be sure of one's own identity, let alone anyone else's.

I see that author Olen Steinhauer has written other books featuring Milo Weaver, so gather that this is a continuing series. i'm not sure if this is the first book in the series, but I do know that I will probably pick up a few others to see if Milo becomes one of my favorite spies. He's certainly not James Bond, but he may be able to hold up a good comparison to Smiley.
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on April 16, 2017
Is fascinating. Having read several of Mr Steinhauer's, more recent, novels I look forward to the rest of the trilogy. Being a completest, I will ultimately track down all of Mr Stenhauer's past books as well. This is not a action thriller. The characters are well drawn, and the narrative is in no way cliché.
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on May 25, 2015
A decently paced thriller. The author has a very clever concept - Secret agent/hit men tourists run by office-based travel agents for a top secret department within a department at the CIA called the Department of Tourism. Former tourist turned travel agent Milo Weaver brought back into the field to investigate one of their own only to find himself the subject of scrutiny. I liked the plot twists, I wouldn't say they were predictable, there's just never really enough information relayed to figure it out yourself - so it kept me guessing anyway. However, the characters aren't particularly well developed and there's too much reliance on the "pull me all the video footage from the surrounding area" and not much grounded in reality. I read it in a couple of hours on my day off, enjoyed it, but with the understanding it doesn't really compare to John Le Carre type thrillers.
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on August 11, 2017
Augh, I'm hooked. Have read all 3 in the series now...really good suspense/espionage/spy books. Waiting for more, Mr. Steinhauer, waiting for more.
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