The Cairo Affair by Olen Steinhauer

This a fast-moving thriller with an intricate plot about espionage, the FBI and political games as played out in the 90’s among foreign diplomats for the governments of Libya, Egypt, and the USA. The story is centered around Sophia Kohl the wife of Emmett Kohl, a mid-level diplomat at the American embassy in Hungary. Her husband is shot dead by an unknown gunman right after she confesses to him about having an affair. The story then follows as Sophia goes awol with a determination to find out who killed her husband and why. Her unauthorized and secretive quest set in motion an inquisition that threatens to expose years of deceit, lies, murders and cover ups.

I thoroughly enjoyed The Cairo Affair. This book starts off at a breakneck speed, and builds up intensity as the story progresses. It is a complicated and layered plot which makes it even more exciting!

This is one of those books you can’t put down because of the eye-opening discoveries that you make as you get deeper into the story. There are themes of evil schemes, betrayals, rivalries, backstabbing and deceptions all interwoven in this intricate plot.

Set in North Africa, from Hungary to Libya, Yugoslavia to Egypt, this story offers great insights into new places, people and cultures. I especially love stories that take you through foreign lands where you can learn a thing or two – this book does just that.
Pick up this book – It’s well worth your time!
Similar books – The Hidden Man by Charles Cumming, A Cold War by Amelia Levene, and The English Girl by Daniel Silva –

About The Author

Olen Steinhauer grew up in Virginia, and has since lived in Georgia, Mississippi, Pennsylvania, Texas, California, Massachusetts, and New York. Outside the US, he’s lived in Croatia (when it was called Yugoslavia), the Czech Republic and Italy…Read more from Amazon

Nightwatcher

Author: Wilson, Charles
Pages: 288
Genre: Mystery
Published: 1990
Setting: Mississippi

This novel is about the brutal rape and murder of Judith Salter a nurse at the state hospital for the mentally insane. Featuring – three escaped psychiatric inmates, suspicious police officers and a guilt stricken dad turned “detective”. Brandon Richards, the victim’s dad abandons his life and career in other to help bring justice to Judith’s killing. Is it a coincidence that these three inmates got out the same night of this tragic incidence? Evidence found on the murder scene has detectives suspecting either or all of the escaped inmates – or could there have been someone else? Judith’s ex husband, a person of questionable character becomes a suspect. Also “someone in the police force” could be killer. While grieving his daughter’s death, Richards is determined to leave no stone unturned investigating his daughter’s murder. Meanwhile, an inmate claims he might have witnessed the killing. How believable is an assertion made by a mentally ill patient?

What prompted me to read this book in the first place was the recommendation on the cover of the book given by John Grisham – an author I’m truly fond of. “Splendid! A lean tight compelling story that was over much too fast. I wanted more”. Another person described the book as “dark, scary, and truly menacing”. Regarding the last statement, I don’t find Nightwatcher that terrifying, neither does it read as spooky as the cover picture depicts.

It is rare that you find a complex plot presented in such a simple format. This is a very quick read. The author did not try to stretch the story with unnecessary details and rigmarole like you find in most mystery novels. Richard’s character very systematically obtains valuable tips and information that helps move the story rapidly. The author methodically builds up a compelling tempo while all the time leaving you guessing who could have committed this horrid act. The excitement lies in the process of walking the reader through layers of unveiling lies, deceptions, conspiracies, and cover ups by the people who were close to the victim. Gradually, shocking revelations are made of the victim’s past life which further complicates the plot. At this point, suspicions about who committed this crime becomes an open-ended question.

It is thrilling to watch as the story culminates in a surprise revelation of the murderer. This is a fun mystery/thriller read – great for the weekend. Fast readers could finish this book within a day.

If you’ve read this book, please let me know what you think…

The Day of The Jackal

I’m currently in this great class – Readers’ Advisory with an awesome instructor – Becky Spratford.  We’ve read quite a bunch of novels and wrote some reviews as well. I’d say-it’s been fun!

I first this title many years back and I have to tell you, I read it again with the same intensity and relish as I did the first time.  This is one of those books you can’t just put down – so be warned!

Skim through this and feel free to add more read a-like titles I might have left out.

Title: The Day of the Jackal
Genre: Thriller
Publication Date: May 2, 2011
Number of Pages: 416 pages
Geographical Setting: Europe – London, France, Germany
Time Period:
1960’s

Plot Summary:

A theme with an urgent matter shrouded in secrecy. The events takes place in the 1960’s Europe – a page turner that keeps you at the edge of your seat. The story unfolds gradually and builds in intensity. A couple of unsuccessful attempts had previously been made to assassinate Charles de Gaulle, President of France by some disgruntled members of the opposition group. Eventually, a decision is reached for a final assassination attempt-which has to be fool proof. An unknown, one man professional killer is hired to do the job. To keep his identity secret, he would take on a code name-The Jackal. Secret meetings are held, payment arrangements made and the killer let loose. As we get a step by step account of how the killer prepares for his job, tension gradually builds up. The government authorities somehow learn of the plot, this then sets off a roller coaster of events, leading to an intense man hunt for the assassin which moves the story at a very rapid pace. The various plans and schemes on how to capture the assassin are shrouded in secrecy making the story all the more suspenseful. As the story progresses, you are nervous as you watch the killer just one step ahead of the police. The book has multiple plots told from an omniscient point of view. This allows the reader to see into the minds of all the characters which adds to the tension. Each chapter ends with a cliff hanger increasing the sense of anticipation. This is a must read for any thriller fan- this book has you on edge the entire time!

Fiction read-alikes:

The Columbus Affair: A Novel by Berry, Steve
Private games  by Patterson, James
The Innocent by David Baldacci

Non –fiction read-alikes:

The murder of King Tut by James Patterson
Kill or Capture by Matthew Alexander