1.9.19

THE CAIRO AFFAIR, by Olen Steinhauer

An author whose works ought to be more well-known (pardon to the author, maybe they are and I'm just now discovering him). International intrigue in all its convoluted, misleading details. Sophie Kohl has just confessed to a long-ago affair with one of her husband's colleagues when a stranger arrives at their table and shoots her diplomat husband Emmett. The killer is a known assassin-for-hire. Sophie, guilt-stricken, flees to Cairo where she stays with Stan Bertolli, her old lover. Who has never stopped desiring her. What at first appears to be a garden-variety tale of infidelity with an exotic background, soon develops into a tortured mid-east plot awash in murder and intrigue. Steinhauer has been called the next Le Carre, and this tale is ample proof of his writing prowess. Click below for more...
Sidetracked at first by the many flashbacks, I had - in spite of my love for this type of tale - a hard time getting into it. In the end, the flashbacks were the whole underpinning of the story and the present-day twists and turns in part derived from them. It is, as another reviewer noted, a bit too much of explaining the plot in the course of the plot. It's almost like those old Road movies: Hey, Special Effects!
And...what American female who is not a trained spy or agent is going to see her husband assassinated and immediately jump into the fray - the Mid East at its most turbulent - and hare off to one of the most anti-female places on earth? Just saying...we are indeed wonders of women but we ain't crazy. 
Nonetheless, I'm off to the library for more Steinhauer!This squeaks by as a 4, with a bit of tame sex and a fair amount of violence. If you love international intrigue, this could be (despite its many flaws) your kind of book.

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