Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Istanbul Puzzle” as Want to Read:
The Istanbul Puzzle
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Istanbul Puzzle (Puzzle #1)

3.45 of 5 stars 3.45  ·  rating details  ·  592 ratings  ·  98 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)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Istanbul Puzzle, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Istanbul Puzzle

The Merchant of Venice by William ShakespeareAmsterdam by Ian McEwanRooftops of Tehran by Mahbod SerajiA Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty  SmithDubliners by James Joyce
150th out of 281 books — 43 voters

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,089)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
The Crime Scene Scene
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
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
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
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
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
Jane Blanchard
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.
It was pretty good read I actually picked up this book in Azerbaijan of all places at a hotel gift shop.

The premise is Sean Ryan tries to find out why he his colleague was killed

I always enjoy a good conspiracy tale and this current and this book had an engaging plot involving the so called war on terror.

I get the premise you can never go back, never undo our sins we are all creatures of our pasts and you never really escape those roots around your ankles.

Laurence is quite knowledgeable and ind
Eric Gates
Almost exactly a year ago I found myself reading and reviewing the fourth of Dan Brown’s excursions with his Robert Langdon character in ‘Inferno’; a book that lived up to its title.

I have just finished ‘The Istanbul Puzzle’ by Laurence O’Bryan and I can’t help but draw so many comparisons between the two. This is the book that, judging by the fame attached to his work, should have Brown’s name on the cover, yet, deservedly, O’Bryan here shows the best-seller how it should be done.

Unlike Dan Br
Rob Kitchin
The Istanbul Puzzle is a political/religious conspiracy thriller set mostly in the Turkish capital but with excursions into Iraq and London. I usually shy away from such thrillers because I have difficulty buying into the plausibility of the plots and gaining a belief in the characters. However, since I was travelling to Turkey I thought I’d give it go. O’Bryan writes in short, workmanlike sentences, keeping the story moving at quick clip. The story is told in the first person perspective of Sea ...more
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.
Interesantan koncept trilera (s tim što laički gledano, da li je Braun ideju za Inferno tražio u Brajanovoj Istanbulskoj zagonetki napisanoj 2011.god!). Ono što zameram jeste da pisac nije detaljnije razradio tu spregu između ubistva zbog kojeg Šon Rajan dolazi u Istanbul i traga zbog čega je njegov prijatelj i kolega obezglavljen i svih onih otkrića koje pronalazi duboko ispod drevnih zidina Istanbula, otkrivanju laguma ispod Aja Sofije.
Gde se izgubio Arapin Anak u romanu? Zbog čega se uporedo
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 really enjoyed this book.Loved the characters and I look forward to reading The Jerusalem Puzzle when it is released in January 2013.
I really enjoyed this book and felt compelled to finish it to solve the mystery. I liked the characters, the sense of place (I really like books set in a recognizable, to me, locale - makes them more enjoyable.)

I especially liked that I was surprised by some elements, or pieces, that were revealed in the end as I'm always trying to solve the mystery or figure out what is going on.

I don't like spoilers, but if you're a mystery fan, like me or someone who likes historical fiction, this is a good b
Anirudh Parthasarathy
Feb 10, 2014 Anirudh Parthasarathy rated it 2 of 5 stars
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
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
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
I enjoyed it! I felt kinda bad for Sean, he had already had to deal with enough loss even before the story began as when we meet him for the first time, he's already lost both parents, his wife and his former position in the institute he co-founded (the last being because of what happened after his wife died) then in this story it starts out with him losing his best friend, Alek, the guy that helped him most to get over his wifes death, even if he hasn't completly moved on.
I liked Isabel and I l
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
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
This was an Ok read. I would rate it higher, but there were many grammar errors (not British/American spelling differences) and a few logic problems. O'Bryan writes chapters in first person (sometimes past tense?) and then third person omniscient, to convey his stories. This seems to work, but there were moments towards the beginning of the book that the first person narrative was either omniscient or past tense, which was distracting.

Overall the plot was Ok. As other readers have written, O'Bry
Eliza Green
When Sean Ryan learns of his friend Alek’s murder, he travels to Hagia Sophia in Istanbul to investigate. But why has an innocent photographer of artefacts been brutally murdered?
The books starts off fast paced and keeps up the tempo throughout. Alek’s murder is the driving force behind Sean’s insistence that he stay in Istanbul. But his presence and investigation of his friend’s death attracts the wrong people.
It is clear that the author did a huge amount of research for this book. He even say
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 36 37 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
The Mystery, Crim...: Inferno vs The Istanbul Puzzle 2 22 Jul 06, 2013 12:44AM  
The Themes in The Istanbul Puzzle 4 26 Apr 07, 2013 12:51PM  
Editorial Tips an...: Emotion – what keeps us involved! 1 2 Nov 22, 2012 01:16AM  
Interviews: Author Interview - Laurence O'Bryan - 2 1 2 Aug 24, 2012 01:13AM  
  • The Pharos Objective (Morpheus Initiative, #1)
  • The Eden Legacy (Daniel Knox, #4)
  • Covenant (Ethan Warner #1)
  • Bet you can't... Find Me
  • The Turin Shroud Secret
  • The Dead Sea Deception (Leo Tillman & Heather Kennedy, #1)
  • The Nostradamus Prophecies (Antichrist Trilogy #1)
  • Beware This Boy (Detective Inspector Tom Tyler, #2)
  • The Map
  • Book of Secrets
  • Silver (Ogmios Team Adventure #1)
  • The Trespass
  • Present Danger (Liz Carlyle, #5)
  • The Nemesis Program (Ben Hope, #9)
  • Blood Count
  • A Blind Goddess (Billy Boyle World War II, #8)
  • The Doomsday Testament (Jamie Saintclaire, #1)
  • The Deceit
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 Jan 2013. My third, The Manhattan Puzzle, arrived all over the world Oct 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,
More about Laurence O'Bryan...

Other Books in the Series

Puzzle (3 books)
  • The Jerusalem Puzzle
  • The Manhattan Puzzle
The Jerusalem Puzzle The Manhattan Puzzle Social Media is Dynamite - How to Get Noticed and Sell More using Social Media Social Media is Dynamite - A Short Guide to Selling More with Social Media The Perfect Murder: Spine-chilling short stories for long summer nights

Share This Book