Bill Purdy's Reviews > The Tourist

The Tourist by Olen Steinhauer
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's review
Mar 30, 2009

really liked it
Recommended to Bill by: "The" Reynolds
Recommended for: Anyone who likes spy stories

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 balance his double life as a Tourist with his desire to be a plain ol' family man. The character is well-drawn and painfully familiar to this 41-year old family guy who travels out of town every week for a living -- though Milo's trials make mine seem minor in comparison (I've never had to kill anyone, for instance).

Bonus points for the standalone factor: The Tourist is a one-off novel -- not merely the first book in an endless series that takes the reader to exotic locations populated with dangerous ne'er-do-wells! Steinhauer may reconsider when George Clooney's adaptation makes massive bank, but The Tourist will always work exceptionally well as a self-contained (and compelling) story. An excellent diversion & a damned good read.
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Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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Jason You've never had to kill anyone... let's make that distinction very visible to your readers.

Bill Purdy Mike wrote: "You've never had to kill anyone... let's make that distinction very visible to your readers."

Italics noted.

And while we're at it, let's make this distinction clear: "readers" should have been singular. You're getting sloppy.

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