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Patch Book Club: Spies, Lies and Betrayal in ‘The Tourist’

What have you been reading this week?

What happens when an undercover CIA agent decides to leave the past behind and live a normal life? Can things ever truly be normal after an existence in which survival depends upon your ability to lie and change your identity as easily as most people change clothes?

“The Tourist” by Olen Steinhauer tells the story of Milo Weaver, a man with a mysterious past who worked for the Central Intelligence Agency as a “tourist” -- a field agent who goes from assignment to assignment relying only on information to fed to him by his handler. An assignment gone bad lands Weaver behind a desk, but his respite from a life of danger, intrigue and betrayal is only temporary.

Reviewers have compared Steinhauer to John le Carré, but I’m not sure I would go quite that far. I enjoyed the book, but le Carré gives characters depth and set scenes in a way that Steinhauer does not. Still, “The Tourist” was an entertaining read and far better than most other recent spy novels I’ve read.

“The Tourist” is the first of three Milo Weaver novels. “An American Spy” and “The Nearest Exit” are next in the series.

My verdict on “The Tourist”: Good enough that I’ll read the sequels.

What have you been reading this week? 

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