©2009 Olen Steinhauer; (P)2009 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
"[Weaver] is the perfect hero for such a richly nuanced tale." (Booklist)
"Superbly accomplished at both plotting and characterization....highly recommended." (Library Journal)
i liked the book, but judging by all the rave reviews I was ready for something new and mind-blowing. at times it was rather standard stuff, not like Day of the Jackal, or Spy Who Came in From the Cold, or Hunt for Red October, all novels which changed the playing field and i grew restless with it. it may make a good movie, though perhaps too much will have to be condensed and trimmed...but maybe at a break-neck pace you could make an almost strict actioner out of it.
The narrator makes or breaks an audiobook for me. Couldn't stand this one, I couldn't make it through this book. Why do male narrators speak in high voices for female characters. Ugh - huge pet peeve. Too bad, seems like interesting story.
A straight-tailed slick-Hog knuckle dragging mouth breather; and proud of it!
The Tourist rewards you for paying attention. The story weaves its way along so if you are a reader that like to be carefully lead, then you might be disappointed. But if you enjoy a book that makes you think then you will want to give The Tourist a listen.
"Company" man, Milo Weaver works out of the Avenue of the Americas secret Department of Tourism as a clandestine operative ... a Tourist. Like a tourist, he has no connection to the country he happens to be passing through.
If you are expecting another Jack Reacher or Victor the Assassin character, you will be disappointed. As much as I enjoy those characters, I found myself drawn to this "everyman" spy. Milo (named after a dog) is every bit a professional, but one with a life and a past that unfolds as the story develops. And that past has more than a little bearing on the story.
And as for the story, you have to pay attention as POV and time and place of the story change. Things don't jump around in a jumble, but they do flow. And you can stay with it if you are willing. I enjoyed those twists right up to the last.
As for the narration, I think Tom Weiner's performance is just fine. I have listened to several books narrated by Tom and was pleased with them. So when I read a LOT of bad reviews about his reading of this book, I discounted them. Turns out I was right to do so. He might not do the best "woman's" voice, and that can be said of many male narrators, but I enjoy his work. It might be he is an acquired taste.
I can't say I know any CIA employees / operatives, but I doubt they sit around talking about "the company" or that they can do anything at any time, any where. I suspect they are real men and women, smart and capable, but people. Something like Milo. At no time do you mistake him for superman, but he is certainly fun to ride along with. Take a chance on The Tourist, I don't think you'll be disappointed.
I know that Steinhauer has a legion of admirers, but I guess I'm not smart enough to be one of them. I simply couldn't follow the plot. It's one thing to be in the dark as events are occurring, but at the end, I do like to know how it all turned out, a desire that eluded me in The Tourist. Yes, there were several interesting characters and the action and motives, in isolation, did provide some excitement, but how it all fit together was something I, for one, never figured out.
Topic of Suicide over and over at the first part of the book. Could not get past that.
Great story and writing. I've often wondered if the thriller hero could ever be a truly ordinary person in skills, equipment and resources. Steinhauer answered my question with a resounding, "yes." Although Milo Weaver's CIA tech resources aren't much more than can be found in Radio Shack and his talents and intelligence aren't extraordinary, one third through the book i was spellbound. This is not just a riveting story, Steinhauer either accidentally or intentionally changes the readers perspective maximizing the book's emotional drama. I think Steinhauer may manipulate the reader as well as he writes providing the reader with profoundly thrilling experience. Moreover, he adds far more depth to Milo's"civilian" side than most of our "dark-humble-thriller-heros." Initially, I was motivated to turn the next page to catch up to Milo, then once caught, a perspective bigger than Milo envisions emerges giving us glimpses into the diabolical intrigue awaiting our protagonist letting the reader actively bring the clues together to formulate the conspiracy afoot, versus spoon feeding us the plot. For those who don't work on guessing the underlying plot, it is soon revealed by the author. But Milo''s way out and any solution remains seemingly impossible. Tiny clues provided by the author though out the story give life to deeper dimension and storyline. The book stands easily on its own even though it's the first of a trilogy. I didn't have that unfinished feeling a cliffhanger provides, but I was so enamored with Milo, I couldn't wait to get to the next one.
Introducing information in bit and pieces and expansion of previously introduced events is a nice touch; on I haven't experienced to this extent before. I liked it.
The ending left me cold. It was clearly intended to set up a follow-on book and diminished the story. This is the trap Patricia Cornwell fell into with her Scarpeta series. I don't listen to her books any longer and won't select the follow-on to this book either.
After reading the reviews thought this would be great. It was disappointing - the first half didn't catch my interest. Then it picked up and intrigued me, but most of the time I didn't understand the whole premise, and still didn't at the end. So, in summary, it kept my interest enough to listen to the whole thing, but that's it.
I bought it because audible.com hyped it. It was billed as the new Le Carre, a spy novel for the thinking reader. It was just... meh. The author has that strange affectation to call the CIA "the Company", which nobody in the CIA or US government ever did. His geo-political scenario, built thinly on the Chinese demand for Sudanese oil, a Russian kingpin, and a rogue hit-squad in the CIA, is often laughable. This is an average spy novel, along the lines of Len Deighton or Robert Ludlum, often weak and thinly researched.
The narration is very odd, and takes a while to get used to. A strange stop-and-start style by the narrator designed to impart meaning just sounds choppy and artificial. I nearly put it down, but persevered despite the poor narration.
I found myself torn over this audiobook. The genre is one of my absolute favorites. I was drawn to the author because at Amazon, he was consistently touted as "heir to Le Carre." But the plot seems to me very cliched, and I had some difficulty liking most of the characters. On reflection and careful review of the reviews, I have come to suspect that my problems may have been with the narrator, not the author. At any rate, it was well worth the time invested, and it is important to support younger authors with promising careers. I'll be watching to see the reactions of other Audible customers.
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