The Tourist, Steinhauer’s first contemporary novel after his award-winning historical series, was a runaway hit, spending three weeks on the New York Times best seller list and garnering rave after rave from critics. Now faced with the end of his quiet, settled life, reluctant spy Milo Weaver has no choice but to turn back to his old job as a “tourist”.
Before he can get back to the CIA’s dirty work, he has to prove his loyalty to his new bosses, who know little of Milo’s background and less about who is really pulling the strings in the government above the Department of Tourism—or in the outside world, which is beginning to believe the legend of its existence. Milo is suddenly in a dangerous position, between right and wrong, between powerful self-interested men, between patriots and traitors—especially as a man who has nothing left to lose.
©2010 Third State, Inc. (P)2010 Macmillan Audio
Best book I've read or listened to all year.
Erika Schwartz was the most unique and riveting female character. Warning: Angelina Jolie won't play this character, unless she puts on 200 pounds. Also, the main character evolves into the most fascinating spy since George Smiley. Just when you think you know who he is, something changes. I picture Kevin Spacey playing him.
This guy is a terrific reader. He has no tics that interfere. Every voice is distinct. All the foreign accents are genuine. All the foreign languages are correctly spoken. His reading is hypnotic.
This book is the climax of the trilogy but it could be read alone. it's well worth reading thru the other two to get to it. Every moment is gripping. The suspense is nearly unbearable.
Don't start it unless you can entirely give over your life to it. Don't listen while driving -- you may have to pull off the road. Don't listen while going to sleep -- you'll never get to sleep.
The plots are intricate. The characters are not heroic. They are not superhuman. But they are determined, caught in a between world where questions are not invited and worse not answered.
I liked the first book in the series and looked forward to this book, alas, this story never gets off the ground, instead it just plows through the same terrain as the last book just rearranging the sequence and adding a couple of new names and using the word "tourist" more than I thought possible. The love interest starts out stale - and then stays that way, there are no notable relationships formed, and the arch villain in this story is never developed beyond some shady form in the background. The poor girl killed in this story is just a prop used and discarded in the story for no purpose other than to add a hundred pages and some - as it turns out - useless - interrogation drama which ends up moving the story nowhere, it just ends.
The first book was an intelligent espionage thriller, this is just a phoned in waste of time.
I would highly recommend this author to anyone who liked early le Carre or enjoys Alan Furst. If they like the more popular authors, Clancy, et al, they might find it a little dull.
This book is part of a trilogy, (at least), so I'd have trouble separating incidences. Overall it was suspenseful, without a lot of gratuitous gore, something I like. The book kept my interest consistently, but without huge and stupid violent scenes. A tightly written book.
Two faults: While I don't expect this sort of book to be realistic, there were moments when I had the "yeah, right", response to plot points. Still, it was far better than most of the more popular author's works. And, the reader cannot read women's voices. He makes the story sound like it occurs in a world consisting of heterosexual men and drag queens. I hate to be that critical, it's hard to "voice" your opposite sex, but it was distracting. Overall, a very enjoyable thriller.
I could rank it among the espionage entanglements as laid out in British spy stories with a setting in Europe.
It is a very intriguing one, not the easiest plot with many fast paced scenes developing after each other. Nice addition is the background of Milo and all the European places he visits, it spices up the whole feel of the story. The dialogues are very good.
His voice is perfect and grips your attention. His depiction of Erika is wonderful with a very nice German/English accent.
When Milo is shot on the steps of his family house by the murdered girl's father.
I would love to read this story again to get a better grip on the story and not losing on the details. Like I do with all spy stories really.
If you like espionage books in the Le Carre tradition, then this series of books is a must. I enjoyed this book even more than the first in the series. (the change in narrator definitely improved it).
Onto the third and final Milo Weaver book.. after which I'll revert.
A straight-tailed slick-Hog knuckle dragging mouth breather; and proud of it!
Having enjoyed Olen Steinhauer's The Tourist I tried The Cairo Affair, and disliked it. Naturally I was unsure about trying The Nearest Exit. I took a chance and was surprised to find it better than the first Milo Weaver book. They changed the narrator and that took some getting used to but The Nearest Exit did not disappoint.
Olen Steinhauer's books demand you listen intently. If you are looking for a mindless listen where the author walks you by the hand through the story, highlighting everything you need to pay attention to to stay with the story, then pass by this one. BUT it you like a book with a complex plot that will challenge you to keep up, then Milo Weaver is your guy.
Be advised, Milo Weaver is not a super hero. He is a guy doing a job. He needs help at times, gets captured, beat up and limps afterwards. If you like the invincible man protagonist this might not be the book for you.
This book picks up where The Tourist left off, so if you haven't I would listen to that first. The reader is forced to find out a lot more about the Department of Tourism. I enjoyed the peak behind the curtain.
In The Tourist, Milo is tiring of the multiple cover identities and the semi-rootless life. He leaves it by the end of that book. Circumstances force him back in but he struggles. The story really unfolds because Milo tries to do the right thing and that throws a wrench in the works.
We catch up with familiar characters from the last book and meet some new one along the way. Fellow "tourist" James Einner is back along with two new tourists. Alan Drummond takes over Thomas Granger corner office in the Avenue of the Americas building. We meet BND director Erika Schwartz and her crew. Xin Zhu, a shadowy Chinese spymaster is hinted at. And of course, like any good espionage story, not everyone is who they seem.
Minor Tourist SPOILER: we catch up with Milo's biological father again and we learn a little twist concerning his mother.
The book is not perfect, the author overuses the word tourist too much for my taste. Some of the secondary and tertiary characters could use some development. He gives some of them interesting Idiosyncrasies but then just overuses those. Sometimes less can be more. Also Milo's wife get annoying. In all fairness that might be because I identify more with the protagonist and I am a man. She is well written, it is simply that she make me mad, and that might be the point. Judge for yourself.
Tom Weiner (the narrator of The Tourist) is an acquired taste, but I like him, so it took me a while to warm up to David Pittu's performance. Now that I am "acclimatized" to David's narration, I enjoyed the story.
Life is about choices and the scars we receive with each questionable one we make. Milo has quite a few scars and they tug from time to time. The Nearest Exit examines what is done in the name of the greater good and brings to light the scars those choices can leave behind. I enjoyed the book and hope you do too.
I really enjoyed "The Tourist" & "The Cairo Affair" but this book just did not cut it for me. The journey was long and at times tedious; the destination was a BIG LET DOWN!!! As I have said before the measure of a great novel is how long the characters/story stay with you after you have finished the book, I forgot the plot of this book 15 minutes after I finished it. Just did not feel the investment of time to read this book brought me any joy or satisfaction. The plot was convoluted and meaningless at times. I plowed thru it only to fall flat by the ending. I am soooo disappointed I probably wont read "The American Spy". Too much of a good thing can turn sour, unfortunately for "The Nearest Exit" it did. Not recommended.
I am glad I didn't listen to one reviewer who said the first 3 chapters were like 3 different books. It was a little complicated at first going back and forth in time but it all resolved itself shortly. Other people complained about Milo being a crazy druggie. I think the author was just showing the angst in him because of his innate goodness and his wanting to do the right thing with the difficult assignments he was given. All in all...I enjoyed Milo's working through his angst while completing his work (I don't want to say more so I don't give away the plot). The narrator, David Pittu, as always did a fabulous job.
Storyline and characters are a bit convoluted. Hard to find a character you can like, which tends to be an important characteristic of a book, for me.
Despite this it kept me listening and the ending made it worthwhile, all the bad guys got what they deserved.
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