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The Istanbul Puzzle (Puzzle #1)

3.47  ·  Rating Details ·  774 Ratings  ·  110 Reviews
The Istanbul Puzzle is a thriller/mystery novel, first published January 19, 2012. It's the first in a series of novels featuring Sean Ryan and Isabel Sharp, being published by Harper Collins and a series of other publishers around the world.

Buried deep under Istanbul, a secret is about to resurface with explosive consequences...Alex Zegliwski has been savagely beheaded. H
Paperback, 400 pages
Published January 19th 2012 by Avon Harper Collins (first published 2012)
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The Merchant of Venice by William ShakespeareAmsterdam by Ian McEwanA Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty  SmithRooftops of Tehran by Mahbod SerajiDubliners by James Joyce
153rd out of 287 books — 46 voters

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Bradley West
Jun 13, 2016 Bradley West rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, thrillers
I liked TIP much more than the typical thriller for several reasons: (a) the protagonist isn't a superman in respect of physical traits (and he's not a professional spy, either); (b) the plot is fast-paced and sufficiently complicated that the reader has to pay attention (which is a proxy for saying you can't predict the end of the book after the third chapter); (c) there's heaps of historical research and local (Istanbul) color in the book.

While I enjoyed TIP a lot, the decision to give it fou
C.M. Turner
Nov 27, 2012 C.M. Turner rated it it was ok
Shelves: never-again
The book started out promising. The opening scene was gripping and dragged you into the story immediately. After that, well... I really could not sympathize with the hero, Sean. It was written with short sentences that sometimes felt awkward and abrupt and there was a lack of transitions. However, the sights and sounds and smells of Istanbul has been beautifully researched and described, sometimes to the point of being overdone (do I really need to know what every inch of the highway looks like? ...more
Stephen Clynes
Oct 28, 2012 Stephen Clynes rated it really liked it
Alek, a photographer is beheaded in Istanbul. A video of his murder is posted on You Tube. Sean Ryan, who works with Alek, tries to find out why he was killed.

There is a nice mix of chapters in this book, with the bad guys having a brief one to keep the reader in the loop and longer chapters written in the first person as Sean tries to solve this mystery. This novel has a good plot where you read what the bad guys are up to something but Alek got in the way. With Sean investigating what went wro
J.S. Colley
Jan 17, 2012 J.S. Colley rated it really liked it
This review first appeared on the Booksquawk website.

I entered a contest on HarperCollins’ website to receive a proof copy of The Istanbul Puzzle—and I won! Yeah, me! It was doubly nice as I love puzzles and my guilty pleasure has always been religious conspiracy-theory thrillers. This one certainly didn’t disappoint. The book is due to be released the middle of this month, so this is a pre-publication review.

Just as riots break out in London after a minor incident at a local mos
L.K. Jay
Jan 30, 2012 L.K. Jay rated it it was amazing
Shelves: action
This was a great find for all those who like a fast paced action adventure story. This story is in a similar genre as The Davinci Code only with more plausible adventure and more believable characters.

Sean is still traumatised from the death of his wife and his sadness continues at the news of the death of his best friend Alex, who was working on a Turkish heritage site for their academic research. Sean goes out to Istanbul to identify the body and his adventures start there when he meets up wi
Jan 17, 2012 Natalie rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
The Istanbul Puzzle is gripping and superbly written, with a fluent and judicious storyline building up to a great finale.

The very authentic two main characters are likable and beautifully three dimensional. Their deeds are comprehensible and coherent within themselves.

Laurence obviously loves and knows about Istanbul and its smells and sounds, its dark corners, the century-old history, the diametrically opposed expectations to the future of Occident and Orient just tied together by one bridge.
Nov 27, 2011 Kate rated it it was amazing
This review first appeared here and is from a review copy.

The Istanbul Puzzle might be the first novel by Laurence O’Bryan but it is such a confident, atmospheric and thoroughly gripping thriller that I’m relieved to report that the second, The Jerusalem Puzzle, will follow after just a year. That book will continue the adventures of the two extremely likeable leads introduced to us here: Sean Ryan, a director of the Institute of Applied Research in Oxfor
Regina Lindsey
Sean Ryan is a broken man, who in the aftermath of his wife's death in Afghanistan has buried himself in his life's work at an institute he started. The latest project is studying mosaics at Hagia Sofia in Istanbul. When Sean gets a call that his best friend and colleague, an outspoken Greek on nationalist views, has been beheaded he is determined to find the truth and not let down his friend in the same manner he feels he let down his wife. At the same time large numbers of Muslims are gatherin ...more
Feb 28, 2013 Nicole rated it really liked it
4.5 Stars

Sean Ryan just learned that his friend and co-worker, Alek Zegliwski, has been killed while working in Istanbul. Sean must leave London in order to identify Alek’s body, but once he lands in Istanbul, Sean realizes there is more to his friend’s death than he realized. With the help of Isabel Sharp, a British diplomat, Sean escapes death numerous times as he hunts for the people that killed Alek. Little does he know that there is a deadly virus being tested and unleashed in Istanbul by t
Aug 25, 2015 George rated it liked it
Βαθμολογία: 7/10

Μέσα στον μήνα το πέτυχα σε πολύ καλή προσφορά στο Public και το παρήγγειλα, διαφορετικά μάλλον δεν θα το αγόραζα, αν και θρίλερ. Δεν έχει και τόσο καλή βαθμολογία στο Goodreads, και καταλαβαίνω λιγάκι τον λόγο, μιας και είχε διάφορα θεματάκια σε πλοκή, χαρακτήρες και γραφή. Σίγουρα πέρασα καλά όση ώρα κράτησε η ανάγνωσή του, διαβαζόταν ευχάριστα και είχε γρήγορο ρυθμό, όμως στο τέλος έμεινα λιγάκι απαθής. Περίληψη της ιστορίας δεν γράφω, την βρίσκει κανείς πολύ εύκολα.

Η αφήγηση
The Crime Scene Scene
Aug 18, 2013 The Crime Scene Scene rated it really liked it
The Istanbul Puzzle is the first in the Sean Ryan/Puzzle Series by Laurence O'Bryan. Sean Ryan works for the Institute of Applied Science, which he helped to co-found in Oxford. They undertake advanced scientific research for various clients. His colleague Alex is currently working in the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul photographing mosaics for the UN. What should be simple job turns deadly after Alex ends up dead, beheaded and with the video posted on the internet. Sean Ryan flies to Istanbul to iden ...more
Arletta Dawdy
Dec 08, 2012 Arletta Dawdy rated it it was amazing
Irish writer Laurence O'Bryan's breakout novel, THE ISTANBUL PUZZLE, marks his entry into the thriller/adventure genre and he does it with a skilled writing style. I had access to a galley proof from a friend who met the author in Dublin. While not an historical novel, per se, the book is filled with great historical detail taking the reader from the Ottoman Empire to the present day. The storyline is well developed with intrigue and corruption showing the way. The puzzle metaphor works quite ni ...more
Lesley Fletcher
Dec 03, 2012 Lesley Fletcher rated it it was amazing
I completely enjoyed this book from beginning to end and can easily recommend it to any reader who enjoys action, adventure, intrigue, history and travel. O'Bryan has demonstrated his knowledge of Istanbul and then has taken it a step further in speculation.

Part of what I enjoyed about the book, aside from the characters, setting and premise was the fact that the author showed a great deal of respect for the country (Turkey), its people and customs. I personally appreciate that as I am a firm be
Jan 23, 2012 Sam rated it it was amazing
I have just finished reading The Istanbul Puzzle by Laurence O’Bryan. It is 2am, I should be in bed sleeping, but I couldn't put it down. I found it impossible to read 'just one more chapter' as each chapter made me want to carry on reading.

This is a superb first novel by Laurence O'Bryan, it deserves to be a best seller. In my view it has the potential to be turned into a television drama or cinema film.

I have thoroughly enjoyed getting to know the two main characters and hope they will be tog
Jane Blanchard
Jul 24, 2012 Jane Blanchard rated it it was amazing
From the first page, The Istanbul Puzzle by Laurence O'Bryan captures the readers interest and then continues with a page-turning story to the end. A gruesome murder, interweaving plots, unexpected twists, cliff hangers, and more make this book hard to put down. Be prepared to stay up late reading this well-crafted story.

This is the first in a series and I can't wait for the Jerusalem Puzzle to be released in January 2013.
Jan 22, 2013 Pat rated it really liked it
Before buying, I "looked inside the book" on Amazon and was able to read the first chapter. I knew immediately this book would capture my attention. In addition to the fast-paced drama, this thriller was set primarily in Istanbul and it was obvious the author had great knowledge of the area. It is a book of fiction, and, in the Acknowledgements (I have the Kindle version), Mr. O'Bryan explains exactly which part of the setting he created from his imagination. Therefore, you can know that the maj ...more
Nov 22, 2012 Nigel rated it really liked it
What a great find for anybody who likes action, adventure stories. This starts off with a bang and carries on at a real page turning pace. The characters are well written, develop nicely and are very believable. The plot takes from Istanbul, London Iraq and finally back to London for the climax, you can tell the subject matter and places have been well researched. This is a great first novel and I'm really looking forward to the sequel.
Good mystery but the story is partially not believeable enough for me. The historical and gegraphical parts are great. Sometimes I did not agree with the action and decisions of the main characters.

I can tell after one chapter this isn't going to be my thing. Severed arteries bubbling like coffee percolator? Um, no thanks. *ding* Next please.
Apr 23, 2012 Kelly rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2012, kindle
I really enjoyed this book.Loved the characters and I look forward to reading The Jerusalem Puzzle when it is released in January 2013.
Dan. Thompson
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 ...more
Oct 07, 2016 Yvette rated it it was ok
Valiant first attempt at action novel.
After the second page however, I wanted to quit: comparing severed arteries to a coffee percolator? Mmmm, strange comparison. But it got better from there. There were several strange comparisons and even weirder adjectives further on in the book, but nothing as weird as the percolator.
On the other hand, where is the action, where was the suspense? The blurb told almost all there was to tell. Will I be reading the Jerusalem Puzzle? The jury is still out ...
Mark Jones
Oct 07, 2016 Mark Jones rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Full of intrigue!

The Istanbul puzzle is a heart pounding immersion in Istanbul. Though I have never been in Turkey, I feel I know Istanbul. The imagery and detailed descriptions of place and time created a sensory experience of Istanbul, Iraq and London. The action and suspense was non-stop. Characters were well developed. I hate to come to the end because I was parting company with friends. The is a great read.
Oct 11, 2016 Sharon rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great Book

I really enjoyed this book. As the name mentions the story is about Istanbul. It's a place I've never been to and doubt if I'll ever see. But the writer has mixed the story with information about the town and it's a very good story. I learned something about Istanbul and it's history. I can't wait to check out the rest of his books.
Anirudh Parthasarathy
Feb 10, 2014 Anirudh Parthasarathy rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: None
Shelves: books-owned
The Istanbul Puzzle is the first novel in Laurence O’Bryan’s Puzzle series featuring Sean Ryan, a widower working at The Institute of Applied Research, Oxford.

It begins with the murder of Alek Zegliwski, an employee at the Institute of Applied Research, Oxford. The murder attracted a lot of attention considering how he was beheaded in Hagia Sophia. This brings his closest acquaintance into the scene, Sean Ryan, the director of the institute and by entering the scene; he ends up risking his own l
Sep 20, 2016 Theresa rated it really liked it
This novel is just the type of book I love. Intrigue, suspense, crime, and some romance are woven together in a tale of the anti-hero, Sean, who tries to uncover the reason one of his colleagues is killed in Istanbul. Sean refuses to give up and finds himself in all sorts of dangerous situations. The characters are believable and sometimes funny, and the book is well written. A good read if you are into suspense and crime novels.
Jan 23, 2012 Paul rated it really liked it
A brutal murder. An ancient temple. A long-lost treasure.

Buried deep under Istanbul, a secret is about to resurface with explosive consequences…

Sean Ryan arrives in the ancient city to identify the body of his friend and colleague Alek Zegliwski. Alek has been savagely beheaded, his body discovered near the sacred archaeological sit of Hagia Sophia in Istanbul. Aided by British diplomat Isabel Sharp, Sean inches closer to snaring Alek’s assassin. Evil is at work and when a lethal virus is unleas
Gloria Antypowich
Oct 11, 2015 Gloria Antypowich rated it it was amazing
I read many different genres, and depending on my mood, I read for different reasons—sometimes for comforting relaxation, sometimes to learn and sometimes to enjoy a gripping thriller.

The Istanbul Puzzle was neither comforting nor relaxing. It was a gripping thriller, but I also learned a lot about ancient history and the city of Istanbul. I was so enthralled with the history and the description of the city, that I would go on line to check out places that were mentioned—some I found, some I did
David Bowles
Aug 16, 2016 David Bowles rated it really liked it
I am not usually a fan of conspiracy books. Maybe I get a bit frustrated, not too sure. A good book, especially as it is the first novel of O'Bryan. Plenty of intrigue and interestingly set in the atmospheric city of Istanbul.

That helped get it the 4 stars when it might have been 3 otherwise. Did enjoy it though.
Sian Wadey
For ages I've been searching for an Indiana Jones style book, with plenty of puzzles, action, likeable characters and a quick pace. Unfortunately this is not the book.
The Istanbul Puzzle may be called so, but there is no puzzle involved. The characters spend a great deal of time looking for a mosaic, but it's not dwelt on much.
Action there is plenty of! Bullets flying, people dying left, right and centre, explosions! My particular favourite bit is when Sean and Isabel get stuck in a drain below
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topics  posts  views  last activity   
The Mystery, Crim...: Inferno vs The Istanbul Puzzle 2 23 Jul 06, 2013 09:44AM  
The Themes in The Istanbul Puzzle 4 26 Apr 07, 2013 09:51PM  
Editorial Tips an...: Emotion – what keeps us involved! 1 2 Nov 22, 2012 10:16AM  
Interviews: Author Interview - Laurence O'Bryan - 2 1 2 Aug 24, 2012 10:13AM  
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My first novel, The Istanbul Puzzle, was short listed for the Irish crime novel of the year 2012. My second novel, The Jerusalem Puzzle came out in January, 2013. My third, The Manhattan Puzzle, was published in October, 2013. The fourth novel in the series, The Nuremberg Puzzle, was published April, 2016.

My roots go back to a small estate deep in the Mountains of Mourne, near the Silent Valley, i
More about Laurence O'Bryan...

Other Books in the Series

Puzzle (3 books)
  • The Jerusalem Puzzle
  • The Manhattan Puzzle

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