All the Old Knives by Olen Steinhauer

All the Old Knives is a great read. Taut, fast-paced, and full of suspense and intrigue. It has the quintessential Steinhauer exploration of the human psyche and the espionage world as a stage for asking questions about truth and deception; about the way lies warp and change our relationships and our own self-conception.

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Modesty Blaise and The Impossible Virgin

An interesting glimpse into the culture and issue of the time. Tracing a character from comic strip to movie to novels over the course of decades. The novel Modesty Blaise (1965) was O’Donnell’s novelization of his (mostly ignored) screenplay for Joseph Losey’s 1966 film of the same name. The warm critical and popular response to Modesty in novel form led to a long-running series. Modesty rarely engaged in Cold War themes, but in The Impossible Virgin she does.

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Olen Steinhauer on An American Spy and Post 9/11 Spy Fiction

Great timing for this weeks Coffee & Markets podcast. Pejman Yousefzadeh and I were  joined by one of my favorite authors, Olen Steinhauer.  We discussed his just released novel An American Spy, the post-Cold War and post 9/11 spy novel, and his career as a writer while living outside the United States. Listen here. Related articles An American Spy by Olen Steinhauer (collectedmiscellany.com)

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In the Mail: Moscow Sting

Moscow Sting by Alex Dryden Booklist Dryden follows up his superb debut, Red to Black (2009), with a riveting sequel. British spy Finn, who uncovered a Russian plan to control Europe’s access to oil and natural gas, is dead, murdered by a KGB-trained Russian criminal. Anna, the beautiful KGB colonel assigned to seduce Finn, but who fell in love with him instead, is in hiding, raising her son, Little Finn. In the post-Bush era, both the U.S. and Britain have realized that Finn was right:...

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The Passport by Herta Muller

I will be honest with you. I don’t read a lot of books by Noble Prize winners. It may be because I am a conservative troglodyte or maybe my tastes just don’t run in that direction. But I do have an interest in Eastern Europe during the Cold War and I am a fan of slim books. So when Herta Muller‘s The Passport came in the mail I figured this was my chance to appear cultured and with it! (actually, the story just seemed interesting but still …) The story, set in a German...

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Red To Black by Alex Dryden

Red to Black by Alex Dryden seems to be clearly aiming for the blend of current events and espionage made famous by John Le Care but Dryden adds in a large dose of love story. It also has the feel of an indictment of Vladimir Putin‘s Russia, and a castigation of the West’s response, in fiction form. Put it all together and it makes for an interesting read; some of it works very well other aspects less well. Here is a video trailer for the book: For the more textual among us here is...

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Red To Black by Alex Dryden

Red to Black by Alex Dryden seems to be clearly aiming for the blend of current events and espionage made famous by John Le Care but Dryden adds in a large dose of love story. It also has the feel of an indictment of Vladimir Putin‘s Russia, and a castigation of the West’s response, in fiction form. Put it all together and it makes for an interesting read; some of it works very well other aspects less well. Here is a video trailer for the book: For the more textual among us here is...

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