George Clooney has optioned the rights to Olen Steinhauer’s new thriller, and you can see why, said Marilyn Stasio in The New York Times. Its winning protagonist, Milo Weaver, is “a decent man sickened by the dirty work he does” as a CIA assassin, and he’s also a doting Brooklyn dad. The real question about The Tourist is whether a thickly plotted page-turner can be fully satisfying when the stakes in its most exciting scenes concern family instead of geopolitics.
I say yes, said Janet Maslin, also in the Times. Steinhauer has dreamed up a secret CIA offshoot in which operatives are called Tourists. As Milo is drawn back into its black-ops work by suspicions about an old friend in Paris, the author “immerses the reader in the same kind of uncertainty that Milo faces at every turn.” It’s no stretch to compare this novel to early John le Carré.
You read on despite your confusion not just because Milo is so likable, said Patrick Anderson in The Washington Post. You read on because Steinhauer’s portrait of the contemporary CIA as “a nest of highly lethal, surpassingly cynical vipers” feels so real.
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- The latent sexism of the male marriage proposal
- Bush vs. Clinton in 2016 is the perfect way to make millennials hate politics even more
- This judge is the reason we're still fighting over net neutrality
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- The lessons of Japan's latest recession
- Is it now OK to have sex with animals?
- The week's best photojournalism
- The hilarious hypocrisy of Republicans complaining about the imperial presidency
- Why the poor can't catch a break on Thanksgiving
Subscribe to the Week