Note: This review is by my husband Jim.
Milo Weaver is a “Tourist,” that is, an “on-call” assassin for the CIA.
The action begins on September 10, 2001, shortly after Milo’s failed suicide attempt. He is addicted to amphetamines, has just botched an assignment to kill a hitman known as The Tiger, and has been wounded in the shootout.
We pick up with him six years later. He now has a desk job at the CIA, is married, and dotes on his stepdaughter. But desk work at the CIA isn’t like ordinary desk work. When a series of complicated events leads to the death of Milo’s close friend – a CIA spy stationed in Paris, Milo not only believes the guilty party is his old nemesis The Tiger, but has himself been accused of his friend’s death.
Rather than surrender to the Department of Homeland Security, Milo attempts to avoid capture while he seeks to prove his own innocence. In the ensuing fast-paced chase and game of mirrors that showcases the nature of the spy world since 9/11, Milo learns there is no one he can trust absolutely, except his own family. As Milo avoids capture with clever ruses that leave little for his pursuers to discover, the reader is treated to a great deal of contemporary “spy craft.”
Evaluation: Steinhauer’s writing is crisp, but not as literate as LeCarre’s. (But that is not a severe criticism.) The Tourist is the first book in a planned series, and was a good enough page-turner to make me want to read the next books.
Published by Minotaur Books, an imprint of St. Martin’s Press, a part of Macmillan Publishers, 2009
Note: George Clooney’s production company has acquired the film rights to “The Tourist,” with Clooney himself interested in playing the lead role of the brooding, introspective, and courageous Milo Weaver.