In Olen Steinhauer's bestseller The Tourist, reluctant CIA agent Milo Weaver uncovered a conspiracy linking the Chinese government to the highest reaches of the American intelligence community, including his own Department of Tourism---the most clandestine department in the Company. The shocking blowback arrived in the Hammett Award--winning The Nearest Exit when the Department of Tourism was almost completely wiped out as the result of an even more insidious plot.
Following on the heels of these two spectacular novels comes An American Spy, Olen Steinhauer's most stunning thriller yet. With only a handful of "tourists"—CIA-trained assassins—left, Weaver would like to move on and use this as an opportunity to regain a normal life, a life focused on his family. His former boss in the CIA, Alan Drummond, can't let it go. When Alan uses one of Milo's compromised aliases to travel to London and then disappears, calling all kinds of attention to his actions, Milo can't help but go in search of him.
Worse still, it's beginning to look as if Tourism's enemies are gearing up for a final, fatal blow.
With An American Spy, Olen Steinhauer, by far the best espionage writer in a generation, delivers a searing international thriller that will settle once and for all who is pulling the strings and who is being played.
An American Spy is one of The New York Times Notable Books of 2012.
Set in 2008, bestseller Steinhauer's excellent if initially convoluted third thriller featuring Milo Weaver (after 2010's The Nearest Exit) finds Weaver no longer a member of the CIA's deeply clandestine Department of Tourism, which was shut down after Chinese spy Xin Zhu, motivated more by personal vengeance than allegiance to his government, orchestrated the assassination of 33 of its agents one by one around the world. When Alan Drummond, Weaver's boss at the now defunct department, disappears from his London hotel, Weaver gets on his trail a matter that becomes much more urgent after Drummond's wife and daughter are kidnapped. Steinhauer is particularly good at articulating contemporary spy craft the mechanics of surveillance and intelligence in the digital age and the depth of paranoia endemic to the trade. In addition, his ability to create characters with genuine emotions and conflicts, coupled with an insightful and often poetic writing style, set him apart in the world of espionage fiction. 125,000 first printing.
Up to Steinhauer's Standard
Good writer, good book. Probably not what he'll be best remembered for, but it's a worthy addition to the Milo Weaver series with plenty of twists and turns, plausible plotting, believable characters, and a mature world-view.
Just buy it
Don't be put off by all the Chinese names
Loved The Tourist and The Nearest Exit but I put off reading this one for a long time because several reviews pointed out that there are lots of characters with hard-to-remember names. This is a feature I ordinarily don't care for. I just gave up trying to remember all the Chinese names and found I could hold onto a decent sense of the story and, by the last half, it didn't seem to matter. This wasn't as good as the first two in the trilogy, but it was a welcome read.