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Olen Steinhauer was born in Virginia and grew up in Texas where he attended the state University in Austin.
He was inspired to write his Eastern European series while on a Fullbright Fellowship in Romania to write about the 1989 revolution.
He moved to New York to sell his book and began the second while in Florence. It was in Budapest, Hungary, that he finished it and still resides.
His first two novels, 'The Bridge of Sighs' and 'The Confession', have garnered thus far an Edgar nomination, an Anthony nomination, a Macavity nomination, a Historical Dagger nomination and rave reviews.
'The Vienna Assignment' was his first novel published with HarperCollins and received excellent hardback reviews in the Guardian and Daily Telegraph.
Author photo © Nancy Crampton
Maxim Jakubowski's August 2015 Book of the Month. A man and a woman meet for a drink in a conveniently empty California cafe. Years before they had been lovers and both involved in spying until an operation went badly wrong. He is still haunted by her memory and preoccupied as to why she left the espionage business following the fiasco. She is now married and out of the game. As their conversation unfolds, we realise both suspect each other of past treason and the game of cat and mouse superimposed over the embers of their romance becomes a compelling X-ray of the past, with level over level of subterfuge unveiled. Short, pithy and compelling, this is a spy thriller like no other and a scalpel-like dissection of a relationship that has you guessing differently with every passing chapter and your sympathy shifting endlessly between the two characters. A melancholy achievement that will leave you gasping until the bittersweet final twist. A total gem. ~ Maxim Jakubowski
Steinhauer is, in my opinion, one of the unsung masters of the murky Mittel-Europa spy thriller but his new book abandons the penumbra of Furst and le Carre territory and the Cold War and jumps with a vengeance into the even muddier waters of the contemporary Middle East landscape in a tale of torn loyalties and multi-layered betrayals. With vulnerable characters of touching flesh and blood and unpredictable feelings, his multi-layered clockwork plot takes us on a fraught journey from Budapest to Cairo, the past of war torn fratricidal Yugoslavia and the perils of the Arabian desert. The compelling jigsaw that emerges intrigues, shocks and dazzles, proving a testament to Steinhauer’s mastery of affairs of the art and state and their frailties and the dangerous world of political games we live in, in which sadly no characters emerge unharmed. A sobering dose of reality but a great read.
Maxim Jakubowski's Book of the Month. Steinhauer is, in my opinion, one of the unsung masters of the murky Mittel-Europa spy thriller but his new book abandons the penumbra of Furst and le Carre territory and the Cold War and jumps with a vengeance into the even muddier waters of the contemporary Middle East landscape in a tale of torn loyalties and multi-layered betrayals. With vulnerable characters of touching flesh and blood and unpredictable feelings, his multi-layered clockwork plot takes us on a fraught journey from Budapest to Cairo, the past of war torn fratricidal Yugoslavia and the perils of the Arabian desert. The compelling jigsaw that emerges intrigues, shocks and dazzles, proving a testament to Steinhauer’s mastery of affairs of the art and state and their frailties and the dangerous world of political games we live in, in which sadly no characters emerge unharmed. A sobering dose of reality but a great read.
Shortlisted for the CWA Ian Fleming Steel Dagger 2009. CWA Judges’ comments: 'Unorthodox, unsentimental and gripping spy thriller. Traditional but with enough of a fresh stance to make it stand out. The protagonist is tough but sympathetic and convincingly realised.'
'This is one of the sparest, most elegant spy novels I have come across in a long time . . . Written in glistening prose - with not a word wasted - it proves Steinhauer truly is John le Carre's rightful heir.' Daily Mail Celia used to lie for a living. Henry still does. Can they ever trust each other? Six years ago, Henry and Celia were lovers and colleagues, working for the CIA station in Vienna, until terrorists hijacked a plane at the airport. A rescue attempt, staged from the inside, went terribly wrong. Everyone on board was killed. That night has continued to haunt all of those involved; for Henry and Celia, it brought to an end their relationship. Celia decided she'd had enough; she left the agency, married and had children, and is now living an ordinary life in the Californian suburbs. Henry is still a CIA analyst, and has travelled to the US to see her one more time, to relive the past, maybe, or to put it behind him once and for all. But neither of them can forget that question: had their agent been compromised, and how? And each of them also wonders what role their lunch companion might have played in the way things unfolded... All the Old Knives is Olen Steinhauer's most intense, most thrilling and most unsettling novel to date - from the New York Times bestselling author deemed by many to be John le Carre's heir apparent.
Six years ago in Vienna, terrorists took over a hundred hostages, and the rescue attempt went terribly wrong. The CIA's Vienna station was witness to this tragedy, gathering intel from its sources during those tense hours, assimilating facts from the ground and from an agent on the inside. So when it all went wrong, the question had to be asked: Had their agent been compromised, and how?Two of the CIA's case officers in Vienna, Henry Pelham and Celia Harrison, were lovers at the time, and on the night of the hostage crisis Celia decided she'd had enough. She left the agency, married and had children, and is now living an ordinary life in the idyllic town of Carmel-by-the-Sea. Henry is still a case officer in Vienna, and has traveled to California to see her one more time, to relive the past, maybe, or to put it behind him once and for all.But neither of them can forget that long-ago question: Had their agent been compromised? If so, how? Each also wonders what role tonight's dinner companion might have played in the way the tragedy unfolded six years ago.All the Old Knives is New York Times bestseller Olen Steinhauer's most intimate, most cerebral, and most shocking novel to date.
New York Times bestselling author of The Tourist, Olen Steinhauer, lauded as "e;one of the hottest names in spy fiction today,"e; by USA Today, has consistently shown an unmatched talent for writing suspense and intrigue. Now, here together for the first time in a terrific eBook bundle are the first three works in Steinhauer's Yalta Boulevard series, which centers on the homicide department in an unnamed Eastern European capital city.The Bridge of SighsIn Olen Steinhauer's Edgar-nominated debut, young and inexperienced homicide detective Emil Brod struggles to solve the murder of a state songwriter amid the lawlessness of a politically volatile, post-WWII Eastern Europe.The ConfessionMoving into the 1950s, Comrade Inspector Ferenc Kolyeszar, another detective in the state militia's homicide department, is asked to look into the disappearance of a party member's wife, but when he discovers that she might have run away from her abusive husband, he wishes he could do anything but return her to him.36 Yalta BoulevardNow in the 1960s, secretive State Security Officer Brano Sev is asked to travel to his hometown for an interrogation, but when he arrives he finds himself framed for murder.
In a thrilling e-exclusive short story, New York Times bestselling espionage master Olen Steinhauer introduces the enigmatic John Calhoun, an international security contractor who plays a prominent role in Steinhauer's latest novel, The Cairo Affair. Before his assignment to the CIA's Cairo office, John worked in Lisbon, Portugal, where he took part in an extraordinary rendition - the apprehension of a wanted individual for interrogation. But from the beginning of the operation nothing goes as planned, and for John, it soon becomes much more than a career-defining moment; how he handles this crisis will define who he is as a person.
Sophie Kohl is living her worst nightmare. Minutes after she confesses to her husband, a mid-level diplomat at the American embassy in Hungary, that she had an affair while they were in Cairo, he is shot in the head and killed.Stan Bertolli, a Cairo-based CIA agent, has fielded his share of midnight calls. But his heart skips a beat when he hears the voice of the only woman he ever truly loved, calling to ask why her husband has been assassinated.Omar Halawi has worked in Egyptian intelligence for years, and he knows how to play the game. Foreign agents pass him occasional information, he returns the favor, and everyone's happy. But the murder of a diplomat in Hungary has ripples all the way to Cairo, and Omar must follow the fall-out wherever it leads.American analyst Jibril Aziz knows more about Stumbler, a covert operation rejected by the CIA, than anyone. So when it appears someone else has obtained a copy of the blueprints, Jibril alone knows the danger it represents.As these players converge in Cairo in The Cairo Affair, Olen Steinhauer's masterful manipulations slowly unveil a portrait of a marriage, a jigsaw puzzle of loyalty and betrayal, against a dangerous world of political games where allegiances are never clear and outcomes are never guaranteed.
In "e;On the Lisbon Disaster,"e; a thrilling e-original story, New York Times bestselling espionage master Olen Steinhauer, author of The Tourist, introduces the enigmatic John Calhoun, an international security contractor who plays a prominent role in Steinhauer's novel The Cairo Affair.Before his assignment to the CIA's Cairo office, John worked in Lisbon, Portugal, where he took part in an extraordinary rendition-the apprehension of a wanted individual for interrogation. But from the beginning of the operation nothing goes as planned, and for John, it soon becomes much more than a career-defining moment; how he handles this crisis will define who he is as a person.
In Olen Steinhauer's bestseller The Tourist, reluctant CIA agent Milo Weaver uncovered a conspiracy linking the Chinese government to the highest reaches of the American intelligence community, including his own Department of Tourism---the most clandestine department in the Company. The shocking blowback arrived in the Hammett Award--winning The Nearest Exit when the Department of Tourism was almost completely wiped out as the result of an even more insidious plot.Following on the heels of these two spectacular novels comes An American Spy, Olen Steinhauer's most stunning thriller yet. With only a handful of "e;tourists"e;---CIA-trained assassins---left, Weaver would like to move on and use this as an opportunity to regain a normal life, a life focused on his family. His former boss in the CIA, Alan Drummond, can't let it go. When Alan uses one of Milo's compromised aliases to travel to London and then disappears, calling all kinds of attention to his actions, Milo can't help but go in search of him. Worse still, it's beginning to look as if Tourism's enemies are gearing up for a final, fatal blow.With An American Spy, Olen Steinhauer, by far the best espionage writer in a generation, delivers a searing international thriller that will settle once and for all who is pulling the strings and who is being played.An American Spy is one of The New York Times Notable Books of 2012.
Milo Weaver has nowhere to turn but back to the CIA in Olen Steinhauer's brilliant follow-up to the New York Times bestselling espionage novel The Tourist The Tourist, Steinhauer's first contemporary novel after his awardwinning historical series, was a runaway hit, spending three weeks on the New York Times bestseller list and garnering rave reviews from critics. Now faced with the end of his quiet, settled life, reluctant spy Milo Weaver has no choice but to turn back to his old job as a "e;tourist."e; Before he can get back to the CIA's dirty work, he has to prove his loyalty to his new bosses, who know little of Milo's background and less about who is really pulling the strings in the government above the Department of Tourism-or in the outside world, which is beginning to believe the legend of its existence. Milo is suddenly in a dangerous position, between right and wrong, between powerful self-interested men, between patriots and traitors-especially as a man who has nothing left to lose.
Superb new CIA thriller featuring black ops expert Milo Weaver and acclaimed by Lee Child as `first class - the kind of thing John le Carre might have written'. In today's CIA, there are hotspots everywhere. And wherever there's trouble, there's a Tourist: the men and women who do the CIA's dirty work. They're the Company's best - and until he burnt out, Milo Weaver was the best of them all. Milo has spent the last four years behind a desk, tracking the elusive killer known as 'The Tiger'. When the Tiger unexpectedly gives himself up, it's because he wants something in return: revenge. Once a Tourist, always a Tourist and soon Milo is back in the field, a world of betrayal, skewed politics and extreme violence. It's a world he knows well - but he's still about to learn the toughest lesson of all.
The revolutionary politics and chaotic history at the heart of Olen Steinhauer's literary crime series set in Eastern Europe have made it one of today's most acclaimed, garnering two Edgar Award nominations and numerous other awards. Upon reaching the tumultuous 1980s, the series comes full circle as one of the People's Militia's earliest cases reemerges to torment its inspectors, including militia chief Emil Brod, the original detective on the case. His arrest of a revolutionary leader in the late 1940s resulted in the politician's imprisonment, but at the time Emil was too young to understand how great the cost would be. Only now, in 1989, when he is days from retirement and spends more and more time looking over his shoulder, does he realize that what he did in the line of duty may get him-and others-killed. By fusing a story of revenge at any cost with a portrait of a country on the brink of collapse, Steinhauer masterfully brings the personal and political together with devastating results-and once again raises crime fiction to a stunning new level.
"e;There are tourists from all over the world. Most of them want to kill you."e;-The Black Book of Tourism In this contemporary international thriller that is reminiscent of John le Carre and Graham Greene, Milo Weaver has tried to leave his old life of secrets and lies behind by giving up his job as a "e;tourist"e; for the CIA-an undercover agent with no home, no identity-and working a desk at the CIA's New York headquarters. But staying retired from the field becomes impossible when the arrest of a long-sought-after assassin sets off an investigation into one of Milo's oldest colleagues and friends. Soon Milo is drawn into a conspiracy that links riots in the Sudan, an assassin committing suicide, and an old friend who's been accused of selling secrets to the Chinese. With new layers of intrigue being exposed in his old cases, and with the CIA and Homeland Security after him, he has no choice but to go back undercover and find out who's been pulling the strings once and for all. In The Tourist, Olen Steinhauer-twice nominated for the Edgar Award-tackles an intricate story of betrayal and manipulation, loyalty and risk, in an utterly compelling novel that is both thoroughly modern and yet also reminiscent of the espionage genre's most touted luminaries.
Eastern Europe, 1956 - Comrade Inspector Ferenc Kolyeszar, a proletariat writer as well as a state militia homicide detective, is a man on the brink. Estranged from his wife, whom he believes is cheating on him with one of his colleagues, and frustrated by writer's block, Ferenc's attention is focused on his job. But his job is growing increasingly political, something that makes him profoundly uncomfortable. When Ferenc is asked to look into the disappearance of a party member's wife and learns some unsavory facts about their lives, the absurdity of his position as an employee of the state is suddenly exposed. At the same time, he and his fellow militia officers are pressed into service policing a popular demonstration in the capital, one that Ferenc might rather be participating in. These two situations, coupled with an investigation into the murder of a painter that leads them to a man recently released from the camps, brings Ferenc closer to danger than ever before-from himself, from his superiors, and from the capital's shadowy criminal element. The Confession is a fantastic follow-up to Olen Steinhauer's brilliant debut, The Bridge of Sighs, and propelled this talented writer into the ranks of the premiere thriller writers of a generation.
A beautifully written thriller from the acclaimed Cold War series writer: `a welcome addition to the wartime ground mapped out by Philip Kerr and Alan Furst' Guardian Prague, 1968: a young student is captured as he tries to flee the country in the wake of Russia's suppression of the Prague Spring. Seven years later, a People's Militia homicide investigator boards a plane for Istanbul. When it is hijacked by Armenian terrorists, the Turkish authorities try to establish contact - but the plane explodes in mid-air. No negotiation, no explanation. Why? Two investigators are assigned to the case: Gavra Noukas, a homicide detective who lives a dangerous double-life, and Brano Sev, an experienced secret policeman loyal to the state. Both believe their superiors are keeping them in the dark but neither can work out why. As they start unravelling the elaborate mystery, though, a trail emerges - one leading back to a seven-year-old murder, a seemingly insignificant killing with terrifying consequences.
In 1975, a People's Militia homicide investigator is on a plane for Istanbul when it is hijacked by Armenian terrorists. Before the Turkish authorities can fulfill the hijackers' demands, the plane explodes in midair. Two investigators, a secret policeman and a homicide detective, are assigned to the case. Both believe that their superiors are keeping them in the dark, but they can't figure out why ... until they begin to realize that everything is connected to a seven-year-old murder, a seemingly insignificant killing that has had far-reaching consequences. Politics and history, for which Olen Steinhauer's novels are most praised, turn intimate and highly compelling in this new novel, reminiscent of John le Carre's best.
Eastern-bloc Europe, 1956.Ferenc Kolyeszar, homicide detective, is finding his life increasingly frustrating.His career as a published author appears to be at a standstill, his job is acquiring a political dimension that is making him uncomfortable, and his wife is cheating on him with a colleague. Then the celebrated painter Antonin Kullmann is found dead, his arms and legs shattered, his body set on fire. It's an exceptionally brutal murder and, as an artist himself, Ferenc becomes obsessed with solving the case. Peeling away the layers of deception and duplicity that surround the case, Ferenc discovers a secret - a secret with devastating repercussions, particularly in this politically turbulent time. As his country moves from a tenuous democracy into a brutal totalitarian state, Ferenc learns what it means to betray others, and what it means to be betrayed.
Olen Steinhauer's first two novels, The Bridge of Sighs and The Confession, launched an acclaimed literary crime series set in post-World War II Eastern Europe. Now he takes his dynamic cast of characters into the shadowy political climate of the 1960s. State Security Officer Brano Sev's job is to do what his superiors ask, no matter what-even if that means leaving his post to work the assembly line in a factory, fitting electrical wires into gauges. So when he gets a directive from his old bosses-the intimidating men above him at the Ministry of State Security, collectively known for the address of their headquarters on Yalta Boulevard, a windowless building consisting of blind offices and dark cells-he follows orders. This time he is to resume his job in State Security and travel to the village of his birth in order to interrogate a potential defector. But when a villager turns up dead shortly after he arrives, Brano is framed for the murder. Trusting his superiors once again, he assumes this is part of their plan and allows it to run its course, a decision that leads him into exile in Vienna, where he finally begins to ask questions. The answers in 36 Yalta Boulevard, Olen Steinhauer's tour de force political thriller, teach Comrade Brano Sev that loyalty to the cause might be the biggest crime of all.
In this auspicious literary crime debut, an inexperienced homicide detective struggles amid the lawlessness of a post-World War II Eastern European city. It's August, 1948, three years after the Russians "e;liberated"e; this small nation from German occupation. But the Red Army still patrols the capital's rubble-strewn streets, and the ideals of the Revolution are but memories. Twenty-two-year-old Detective Emil Brod, an eager young man who spent the war working on a fishing boat in Finland, finally gets his chance to serve his country, investigating murder for the People's Militia. The victim in Emil's first case is a state songwriter, but the evidence seems to point toward a political motive. He would like to investigate further, but even in his naivete he realizes that the police academy never prepared him for this peculiar post-war environment in which his colleagues are suspicious or silent, lawlessness and corruption are the rules of the city, and he's still expected to investigate a murder. He is truly on his own in this new, dangerous world. The Bridge of Sighs launches a unique series of crime novels featuring a dynamic cast of characters in an ever-evolving landscape, the politically volatile terrain of Eastern Europe in the second half of the twentieth century.
It's 1948; three years after the Soviets liberated a tiny nation from German occupation. But the ideals of the revolution have dissipated - the Red Army still patrols the rubble-strewn streets of the Capital; everyone is careful to address one another as Comrade. Lawlessness and corruption are the rules of the City. The young homicide inspector Emil Brod, fresh from the police academy, is unprepared for the instant hatred his colleagues appear to have towards him. It seems they believe he is a spy. When the wealthy state songwriter, Janos Crowder, is found murdered, the case is, surprisingly, assigned to Emil. It's not long before Emil discovers threads that link Crowder's death to very highest levels of the Party. Emil's investigations threaten to lead him into more and more danger. And Lena, Crowder's beautiful widow, complicates matters further. But Emil's choice is simple - between the truth and that of his and Lena's safety.