Review: Latest Steinhauer a rich read

Review: Latest Steinhauer a rich read

But that is not to diminish the fun of reading Olen Steinhauer. I keep a huge world atlas at my side. (Of course you could look things up on an iPad or your phone, but where is the joy in that?) When Weaver is sent to extract an agent from Laayoune, Western Sahara (not a country, but a disputed west African territory), Steinhauer includes so many convincing details that it is hard to believe he has not been there. From the air, he writes, the airport looks “ready to be swallowed by the Sahara” and “despite the long ago name change from Spanish to Western Sahara, the Arabic sign over the passenger terminal also read AEROPUERTO DE EL AAIÚN.” Though incomplete, it is more about the geography and history of northwest Africa than I have been taught anywhere else. It is the kind of rich detail that keeps fans coming back to these novels and bang-bang-kill-die spy readers tossing them aside with impatience. Meanwhile, the plot revolves around the surviving Tourists who carry on super moral work as though in pursuit of Superman’s old mission, “the never-ending battle for truth, justice and the American way,” the good American Way we all believed in once. The battle must come to heartbreaking halts when Weaver confronts the conflicts between it and human weakness — betrayal, madness, misdirection. For him, it is always family above all, and he cannot keep what for him is a vocation separated from his family, including his wife and daughter.
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