Thursday, June 18, 2015

Just Heard: "All the Old Knives" by Olen Steinhauer

Just Heard: All the Old Knives by Olen Steinhauer, 2015, download.

Dang. This is a 2015 book? Look at me, checking out the new stuff.  I'm hip. This was shorter at 5.5 hours. The print edition is 294 pages. Word count? I don't know, stick your word count, I'm no writer.

Short version: Two ex-lovers and spies meet for dinner and talk about whether someone from the CIA leaked information to a terrorist cell in the middle of an airliner hijacking.

Long version: Henry and Celia worked for the CIA out of the Austrian embassy nine years ago. Henry fell hard for Celia. She started loving him. An airliner is hijacked, lands in Vienna, and parks in the middle of the tarmac. The embassy's CIA staff work to help out by trying to identify the hijackers and their backgrounds. The CIA team gets a text message from a CIA courier on the plane with his family. The few texts give important info and then turn "weird".

It seems like the courier may be compromised. Sure enough the plane door opens, the courier is shot dead, the body falls to the pavement below. How did the hijackers know who he was? When the police storm the plane they find everyone dead; the terrorists ran poison gas through the air circulation system.

All of the above is told with some flashback and recorded statements. In present day Henry is tasked with investigating rumors that a CIA officer leaked the courier's identity directly to the terrorists.

1. The review in the New York Times remarks how Steinhauer's previous characters were hopping across Europe. Here they stay in Austria and California. Steinhauer was aiming to cut down on the frenzy.  Yeah, it's not as frantic as previous books.
2. I find that I take to heart the political comments of spies, soldiers, and politicians. I want the characters that I like to feel the same way I do about government decisions and politicians. I get annoyed when they do not. This is mainly because I make a foolish presumption that author has some inside knowledge. That the author bases a characters feelings and experiences and plenty of

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