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The Tourist Hardcover – March 3, 2009

4.0 out of 5 stars 437 customer reviews
Book 1 of 3 in the Milo Weaver Series

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Edgar-finalist Steinhauer takes a break from his crime series set in an unnamed Eastern European country under Communist rule (Liberation Movements, etc.) to deliver an outstanding stand-alone, a contemporary spy thriller. Milo Weaver used to be a tourist, one of the CIA's special field agents without a home or a name. Six years after leaving that career, Milo has found a certain amount of satisfaction as a husband and a father and with a desk job at the CIA's New York headquarters. The arrest of an international hit man and a meeting with a former colleague yank Milo back into his old role, from which retirement is never really possible. While plenty of breathtaking scenes in the world's most beautiful places bolster the heart-stopping action, the real story is the soul-crushing toil the job inflicts on a person who can't trust anyone, whose life is a lie fueled by paranoia. George Clooney's company has bought the film rights with the actor slated to star and produce. 100,000 first printing; author tour. (Mar.)
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From Booklist

*Starred Review* Charles Alexander’s soul has been destroyed by his work. A CIA black-ops agent (called a “Tourist”), he is postponing his suicide just long enough to complete one more job. Very early on September 11, 2001, the job goes disastrously wrong. He lives. Six years later, he has become Milo Weaver, still a Company man but now a devoted family man, too. Accused of murdering a colleague—his best friend—he’s forced to go on the run to clear his name. Evidence suggests that the bad guys might share his travel agent. And, as Weaver’s own mysterious past comes into play, his hard-won happiness hangs by a fraying thread. The premise isn’t new, but what’s noteworthy is the way Steinhauer manages to push the genre’s darker aspects to the extreme—his hero’s alienation is part of the cost of carrying out orders whose true origins and ultimate effects are often unknowable—without sacrificing the propulsive forward momentum on which a spy story depends. And Weaver, smart but sometimes not smart enough, is the perfect hero for such a richly nuanced tale. Steinhauer’s excellent Eastern European quintet (Victory Square, 2007) didn’t make him the star he deserves to be, and his publisher is banking on this one to do the job. They’re making comparisons to the classic spy novels of le Carré, Greene, and Deighton—heavy hype, but it’s largely justified. --Keir Graff

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Minotaur Books; First Edition edition (March 3, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312369727
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312369729
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1.4 x 9.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (437 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #801,848 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By S. McGee TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on March 12, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is, quite simply, the best spy novel I can remember reading in what must be many decades. Daniel Silva, in comparison, is writing books for middle school kids, and even Alan Furst pales slightly in comparison.

This impeccably structured novel revolves around Milo Weaver and his battles for identity and meaning within the world of "Tourism". Forget digital cameras and souvenirs, however; Weaver and his colleagues travel the world on behalf of a clandestine US intelligence agency, combatting global organized crime, terrorists and other miscellaneous enemies of the United States. We first meet Weaver as a burned out shell of a man, whose soul is being destroyed by what the job demands of him. Its early pages dart back and forth across a six-year-timespan, introducing us to key characters in the drama to follow, from fellow Tourists to his boss Tom Grainger, from the woman he loves and marries to the woman whose investigation into the death of a hired killer Weaver has been hunting, nicknamed the Tiger, threatens to derail his fragile happiness.

Each of those characters is carefully drawn and feels as vivid and 'real' as does Milo himself in his struggle to extricate himself from a trap to implicate him in murder and treason. Who orchestrates that conspiracy, for what reason and how it is resolved is at the heart of the plot. Steinhauer never strikes a false note in his writing or cuts corners in the intricate plot. Early on, as Milo muses about his profession, "the truth was that intelligence work seldom, if ever, ran in straight lines. Facts accumulated, many of them useless, some connecting and then disconnecting." Steinhauer, however, keeps each fact relevant, and carefully scatters clues to the novel's denouement along the path that the reader will follow.
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Format: Hardcover
In the post-Cold War days immediately prior to 9/11, Milo Weaver, a "tourist" for the CIA--an agent without a home base--dealt with issues like finding war criminals, watching émigré Russians living an extravagant style abroad, and looking for three million dollars thought to have been stolen by Frank Dawdle, the CIA station chief in Slovenia. Milo, a failed suicide addicted to Dexedrine, has seen too much violence and crime. Watching a Russian pedophile throw a thirteen-year-old girl off a balcony in Venice, seeing an influential CIA man betray his country, and being shot and nearly killed when that agent is murdered by another "tourist," has just about done him in.

Six years later, Milo is happily married to a woman whose life he saved, with a six year-old stepdaughter who adores him. Though he is no longer a "tourist," he is still working for the CIA, investigating "The Tiger," one of the most vicious killers in the world, an equal-opportunity assassin who has killed, among others, both an influential cleric in the Sudan and the French foreign minister. No one knows for whom he works. When Milo tracks him down, he learns that the Tiger has actually planned their meeting, deliberately leaving a trail for him because he wants to meet him. The Tiger wants Milo to find and kill the man who has commissioned all the international killings--and ultimately, the man who has arranged for the Tiger's own death.

The evolving action reveals much about the internecine squabbles within the CIA, between the CIA and Homeland Security, and between Congressmen and both organizations.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Do yourself a favor and don't bother with this novel. Retread stereotypical characters, long-winded plot development, unsatisfactory resolution- this has got it all. An assassin called "The Tiger" , a dirty CIA head honcho that uses the code name "Carlos" - really?
People who are drawn to reading this are likely to have read some Le Carre, Ludlum, and even (in the case of the protagonists name, Milo) Kellerman. There is not an once of originality in this dreadful book.
I was coming off reading "The Expats" by Chris Pavone, which while not perfect I enjoyed immensely, so thought I'd stick with the genre for another go around- Fail. I'm really not that critical & generally pretty easy to please, but this really is awful- just don't.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I bought this book because somewhere I read that this author had been compared to Le Carre. As a loyal Le Carre fan who has read all of his novels, I am forever looking for something comparable. Well... this was not even close, though the author flatters himself by quoting from Le Carre, apparently wanting us to see parallels where none exist. For starters, this book is chock full of every imaginable spy novel cliche -- spoiler alert here, in case you actually decide to read it -- the big surprise is that all the awful, terrible things here were done by... wait for it... the evil CIA, in cooperation with... an evil Republican senator, in order to ... get the US more oil! Seriously, how many times has this been done? I kept hoping this was just a silly diversion but no, that's the plot. Very fitting that the movie rights would be bought by George Clooney, it's right up his alley.
The book is confusing not because the plot is complicated but because the author seems to get lost in the details. He also seemed unable to come up with an ending so it just kind of runs out of steam. I turned the page expecting to keep reading, but that was it. The book is also poorly edited and has grammatical errors, not to mention incorrect use of Russian names (I know, who cares, but I speak Russian so it bugged me). In short, save your money and re-read an old Le Carre book.
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