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The Cairo Affair by Olen Steinhauer

When a New York Times bestselling author Olen Steinhauer comes out with a new book, it’s bound to get a lot of attention. This highly touted author of critically acclaimed Milo Weaver trilogy, is known to bring an intriguing plotline packed with political and personal betrayals. It’s an espionage novel at its best. Who can forget the first in the series: The Tourist, now a major motion picture starring Angelina Jolie and Johnny Depp.

 “Not since John le Carré has a writer so vividly evoked the multilayered, multifaceted, deeply paranoid world of espionage,” describes The New York Times. As Booklist stated, “It has become de rigeur to compare Steinhauer to le Carré, but it’s nearly time to pass the torch: for the next generation, it’s Steinhauer who will become the standard by which others are measured."

In his new book, The Cairo Affair, Olen Steinhauer promises to deliver on the hype. An American diplomat is shot in the head outside a French restaurant Chez Daniel in Hungary while having dinner with his wife. She had just confessed to him about her affair while they were living in Cairo.

Torn by guilt and obsessed with trying to find out “why” her husband was killed, Sophie Kohl reaches out to her ex-lover Stan Bertolli, a CIA agent in Cairo. As he tries to uncover the cover-ups, Stan is faced with his own dilemma of who to trust, and how much of the political games and deception he can confide in Sophie.

Omar Halawi has worked in the Egyptian intelligence for years, and he knows how to play the game. Jibril Aziz, a native Libyan but who now works as a US Analyst is trying to connect all the dots.

What unfolds is a dangerous, highly additive adrenaline rush story that takes you through current world events in spiraling plots guaranteed to keep you on the edge of your seats till the end of the book.

Olen Steinhauer is talented. By including major political upheavals that intricately weave in the clever story of emotionally rich characters, he manages to bring The Cairo affair close to our hearts. Whether he’s using WikiLeaks classified informative to uncover US diplomatic secrets, or tying the story to post-Mubarak Cairo and Libya in the thrust of the Arab Spring, Steinhauer’s commitment to the details are incomparable.

If you love espionage novels, this is one that’ll be a page-turner.

4.5/5 Sukasa Stars 


Published by Minotaur Books and distributed in Canada by Raincoast Books.

Review by @ShilpaRaikar for @SukasaReads (a division of @SukasaStyle)