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The Tourist (The Tourist #1)

3.74 of 5 stars 3.74  ·  rating details  ·  6,106 ratings  ·  772 reviews
In Olen Steinhauer’s explosive New York Times bestseller, Milo Weaver has tried to leave his old life of secrets and lies behind by giving up his job as a “tourist” for the CIA—an undercover agent with no home, no identity—and working a desk at the CIA’s New York headquarters. But staying retired from the field becomes impossible when the arrest of a long-sought-after assa ...more
Paperback, 432 pages
Published February 16th 2010 by Minotaur Books (first published January 1st 2009)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Kris
It was the wife that killed him!

I kid. The book is one twisty-ass mofo, and I don't want to spoil it. But I do want to spoil Scott Turow's Presumed Innocent , and just have.

In terms of sheer plotting, this rivals a couple of my favorite spy thrillers -- I kept recalling the phenomenal Soul of Viktor Tronko by David Quammen (yes, that Quammen), another espionage novel steeped in postmodern concerns about identity and narrative without losing the bite and snarl of history or realpolitik. Steinha
...more
Bill Purdy
Oct 23, 2013 Bill Purdy rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone who likes spy stories
Recommended to Bill by: "The" Reynolds
What started out as a firm 3-star novel (mostly because spy books belong to a genre I never could quite penetrate) finished up as a near-enough-to-four-star novel that I gave it the benefit of the up-rounding. Four stars!

All the standard twists and double-crosses one would expect from a well-plotted spy story are here, but what makes this one particularly compelling is the palpable despair that chokes protagonist Milo Weaver (he's the CIA Black Ops "Tourist" of the title) as he struggles to bala
...more
Gerald Sinstadt
The Tourists of the book are a branch of the CIA, nominally spies although the main protagonist is seemingly an internal investigator-cum-assassin. In common with many other characters, he has several names: is he Charles Alexander, Milo Weaver, Paul Dolan or Mikhail Yevgenovich Vlastov? Which is he really? How good an investigator is he? On an early assignment, knowing that he is being watched, ignorant of who might overhear, he meets his counterpart in a crowded Parisian café. Over lunch she l ...more
Jeffrey
Jun 24, 2009 Jeffrey rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Espionage fans
In this excellent spy novel, we are introduced to Milo Weaver, a Tourist, or clandestine officer for the CIA, who is used for protection, and assassanation. Milo works for Tom Granger who runs the operation out of offices in New York. Early on we find Weaver, who has his own secrets, being brought in to help another spy Angela Davis track down a missing spy who apparently stole $3,000,000. They find him tied to a Russian, and in the ensuing gun battle, Weaver is injured, the thief is killed and ...more
Katie
Given how lauded this book was when it debuted in 2009, I had high hopes for this one, but I felt very "meh" about the whole experience. Perhaps I've seen too many spy movies, but I really wasn't very impressed. My heart did not race even once while reading, I was not worried about the life of the protagonist (it never hung in the balance), and I didn't really care about the outcome either way.

That said, I think this was part of the originality of this novel: the reality of it. The protagonist i
...more
Ben Peek
Olen Steinhauer's The Tourist is a remarkable in that such praise has been given to a novel that is, beyond its mediocrity, awful.

Opening in Venice the day before September 11th, 2001, The Tourist introduces Milo Weaver, a burnt out, drug dependent black ops agent for the USA, a 'tourist' as he is designated, a man without a home, fixed identity, and moral compass. When his job goes bad, he ends up shot and next to a pregnant woman whose water has just burst and who, sadly, six years later, will
...more
Adam
There have been many espionage thrillers published throughout history, but Olen Steinhauer’s The Tourist stands out of a majority of the crowd to join an impressive company. This novel has a plethora of twists and turns, which is a main staple of the genre, and gains a personal connection to the readers within its main character, Milo Weaver, a former CIA agent that reluctantly gets drawn back into the life he tried to leave behind. Milo does not have James Bond’s suave demeanor or Jason Bourne’ ...more
Brandi Rae
Ooooh, the was such a great spy book. For years, Milo Weaver had no real name, identity or home--he essentially didn't exist. A Tourist for the CIA, his job was to carry out orders and collect information in any way necessary. In 2001, his career fell apart, the stress of the job finally getting to him. After an assignment gone wrong, Milo quit working as a Tourist; instead taking a desk job and becoming a family man.

However, in 2007, a break finally comes in a case he is working. For six years
...more
Dede Farabaugh
I must first disclaim I don't normally read spy books, so I'm not totally familiar with this genre.

That being said, this book seemed promising when I picked it up at JFK airport. I thought it be some good in flight reading and something my boyfriend could get into as well. At first, I found it absorbing as I tried to figure out the plot and the motivations of the main character. But as the book went on, I found myself reading to just try to finish it. About 3/4 of the way through, the plot just
...more
jo
this did its job. kept me busy and entertained and coming back. i didn't learn anything about the world and the complexity of conflict, only about how the CIA possibly operates. it seems an outdated model, at least if Mark Mazzetti's The Way of the Knife, which i have not read but have heard discussed on Fresh Air, is to be believed. the world steinhauer depicts is till a le carré-ian world, and there is nothing wrong with that. it's gripping and it's fun. as my friend gina pointed out, though, ...more
J.
This makes deep rumbling noises in the exposition chapters, even convincing the reader that the worldwide-terror-&-deception model could actually be the new basis for espionage novel writers.... (whose loss of the cold-war as their subject, while winning it fictionally & historically speaking, is a problem for the practitioners..)
But it devolves to the standard, moviescript-ready jeopardy and chase scenarios that we've come to expect by the middle sections. This looks to be the creation
...more
Richard
Dec 16, 2012 Richard rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of le Carré-esque morally ambiguous espionage
Shelves: espionage, fiction, series
It's cold in San Francisco — or at least about as cold as it usually gets here, which really isn't very cold. But my apartment isn't well insulated, so when it gets down into the high 30s overnight and somewhere in the 50s during the day, my home tends towards the low 60s pretty quick. That makes me want to stay curled up in bed reading.

Steinhauer's The Tourist is a very good book for that purpose.

As espionage novels go, this really hits the sweet spot for me. I don't read very much of the genr
...more
Tony
Steinhauer, Olen. THE TOURIST. (2009). ****1/2. There’s been lots of buzz about this new novel from this author; about it’s being a re-introduction to the world of espionage fiction as practiced by the masters in their early days. Names like Le Carre, Deighton, and Graham Greene have been bandied about. I have to give it its due. It is well written and has an interesting plot. What it really turns out to be, however, is an espionage novel using some of the standard ingredients of early noir fict ...more
Janebbooks
Lately, my favorite spy, espionage, thriller writers have gotten a bit boring. Vince Flynn writes thrillers after the fact which makes them alternative history, Tom Clancy has forsaken Jack Ryan, David Baldacci is writing cute (last one was a Nicholas Sparks with a happy ending). The only thing Alex Berenson wrote that I enjoyed was his 2008 review in NY Times of THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO. I only read Daniel Silva's Gabriel Allon series when stolen or forged art is involved, and Brian Haig ...more
Karla
The Tourist, Olen Steinhauer (4.0)
After reading this very enjoyable spy thriller, I realized it was not the basis for the Johnny Depp/Angelina Jolie movie. It definitely had some similarities, though more in location (Venice) and not in plot. The book was far better. It follows a ‘Tourist’, the name for a black ops CIA agent stationed abroad, while he is an active Tourist and afterward as he gets enmeshed in a game of espionage involving all his co-workers, bosses and even family members. Throug
...more
D.T.
With all due respect to John LeCarre, the master, I now think that The Tourist by Olen Steinhauer is the best espionage novel I have ever read.
A lot of praise has already been written about this book, but I only stumbled upon it recently. I wish I had known about it earlier.
Milo Weaver, the sympathetic, multi-layered main character is a "Tourist" for the CIA. When his friend and colleague is murdered in Paris, Milo is the prime suspect. He's sent on various fact finding missions before it becom
...more
Bill
The Spy Who Went Out Into the Cold

Steinhauer, Olen (2009). The Tourist. New York: Minotaur/St.Martins.

This is a well-written spy novel, which is rare outside of Le Carre. It measures up to some of Le Carre’s lesser works, such as The Mission Song or Single & Single. As with Le Carre, Steinhauer’s characters are driven by personal and interpersonal motives. Violence is minimal and Bondian gadgets nonexistent.

The protagonist, Milo Weaver, is called back into active CIA “black ops” duty to fin
...more
Jennie
I like the storytelling in this book, but I wasn't crazy about the too-complicated plot that didn't really make sense. Too many things happen (including lots of people getting killed) for no apparent reason, and even the supposed wrap-up part doesn't explain very much. Also, even though I grew up Army and spent the first 20 years of my life being indoctrinated into the whole Cold War mentality thing, events of the last 20 years have made it a little hard for me to lose myself in a plot where a R ...more
Joyce
If every generation gets the espionage novel it deserves and needs, then Gen X has found its Le Carre. Olen Steinhauer turns his spy, Milo Weaver, into a killer stand-in for all those loving parents who also guiltily realize they might in fact be their most authentic selves when unhealthily obsessed with their work.

It's a pleasure to see Steinhauer handle the many tricky technical details of his narrative with such casual aplomb. For the story to run properly, Milo needs to be as clueless as the
...more
Cynthia
Well ... it's very well-written. It's fun to read, it moves fast. It's a little confusing but the stuff that's confusing doesn't actually relate to the plot, it relates to world politics. I think the author wants it to be confusing. And once you get into it, by about mid-way, the hero of the story becomes sufficiently interesting that you get more involved in the plot. This book is somewhat gritty and hard edged. A lot of the plot and emotion payoff is at the end. It's kind of vague about what h ...more
Jon
A pretty good CIA-international intrigue thriller, with multiple levels of betrayal and secrets saved for the end (and beyond--there is a sequel). A good airport or beach read. But it seemed unreal--I know there really are serious men in black who may be with the Company or the Russians or MI6; but living in a world peopled only by them seems like a fantasy. A James Bond-type gadget that will open any car with electronic locks and then start it? Bodies falling from windows near the Grand Canal? ...more
Janette
This is a book about CIA spies. I thought I was following the plot, but then everything changes. Things are not what they seem. It would be hard to write a good spy book because the plot has to mean a lot of different things. I liked it but didn't have enough patience to really try and put it all together in my own mind. Wish it could have ended better but I know there are more that follow in this series. I always wonder if these kind of books are anything like real life and if these kind of thi ...more
Thursday Euclid
This book was so good that when I checked it out from the library months ago, I couldn't bring myself to return it. I compulsively reread it. I talked to my best friend for hours about the protagonist, the plot, the implications... It was nail-biting and wonderful. I identified so completely with the protagonist (to call him a hero is a stretch) that I cried a couple times for his travails and cheered aloud with his triumphs. Olen Steinhauer writes with an engaging style that makes it easy to pi ...more
Trish
Deceit is thick in the air in this modern spy novel. Shifting shapes, names, loyalties are as loosely moored as ever in the spy industry. While China's interest in Sudan's oil is mentioned, interpersonal human drama is the real center of this absorbing 6th novel from expatriate Olen Steinhauer. The clash of jurisdictions between the CIA and Homeland Security in the USA adds a touch of verisimilitude. Steinhauer does a very good job creating characters one cares about. He did the right thing by m ...more
Theresa
Thoroughly enjoyable. This is not what I normally read because I have problems keeping up with who did what to who and why. For some reason there is a block in my brain that just doesn't retain that information.

This book was no exception--I had to keep going back and rereading previous parts to see what I had missed or forgotten. But it was definitely worth the time it took to read. The ending was completely unexpected. Filled with twists and turns, this book will make you want to read more by t
...more
Eric Vinc3nt
Old School is a term which should be considered upon taking on Olen Steinhauer's THE TOURIST on the face-value of it being an "espionage thriller," old school in that it is vastly more parts leCarré than Clancy. The Clancy in you may yawn at its hero Milo Weaver somewhat, but leCarré would have well recognized his own real-life MI5 and MI6 exploits in the grim paranoia of what early CIA chief James Jesus Angleton described as "the wilderness of mirrors" that is the actual world of global espiona ...more
Linda
This spy thriller was on the devious side - nothing was as it seemed!

Milo works for the CIA. His job is to track down an assassin called The Tiger. But Milo used to be a tourist - a CIA black ops guy - who toured around Europe taking care of situations. Milo requested the transfer from tourist to desk guy after a messy affair in Venice on September 11, 2001. The good thing about that job was that he met his wife there, after he had been shot and she went into labor.

Milo gets his man but only be
...more
Jeff Aldrich
Another cliched spy yarn full of rogue agents, beaten confessions, poisons, bags of black money, free sex, depraved villians, agency heads running US foreign policy on their own and every other fictional bunk sub-plot that has been re-worked so many times before. The occasional action sequences are written as for a screenplay with so much staging detail that you loose the action.

If you want a real scary true CIA story - read 'Courting Disaster' by Marc Theissen.
Øyvind Berekvam
En solid spionthriller som rommer alle typer forviklinger, bedrag, svik og overraskende vendinger man forventer av sjangeren. Vi følger hovedpersonen Milo Weaver (som også veksler mellom navnene Charles Alexander, Paul Dolan og Mikhail Yevgenovich Vlastov) gjennom store deler av Europa og USA, og vi får et innblikk i kranglingen som foregår i USAs ulike etteretningstjenester. Det er i det hele tatt både velskrevet og grundig researchet dette her. Så hvorfor er jeg ikke 100 % frelst? - Det har no ...more
Mary Robinson
Thought this spy thriller was the rare book that gets better at the end. In the middle it got a little bogged down with exposition. It follows the life of a CIA spy who was in the thick of things, then retired to headquarters and actually started a family life only to be reluctantly pulled back into his old role. Very good portrayal of how soul-sucking that life must be.
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Olen Steinhauer grew up in Virginia, and has since lived in Georgia, Mississippi, Pennsylvania, Texas, California, Massachusetts, and New York. Outside the US, he's lived in Croatia (when it was called Yugoslavia), the Czech Republic and Italy. He also spent a year in Romania on a Fulbright grant, an experience that helped inspire his first five books. He now lives in Hungary with his wife and dau ...more
More about Olen Steinhauer...
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“Without balance, a life is no longer worth the effort.” 26 likes
“The jacket,” Milo repeated, and Grainger gave him a sour look before stretching an arm into his blazer. They” 0 likes
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