All the Old Knives by Olen Steinhauer is an espionage novel attempting to trace a hostage situation gone wrong. Mr. Steinhauer is a writer, TV show creator who has been nominated for several awards.
- 384 pages
- 304 pages
- Publisher : Minotaur Books
- Language : English
- ISBN-10 : 9781250045423
I have enjoyed several of the author’s novels previously, so I was excited to read another one. All the Old Knives by Olen Steinhauer is an exercise in writing, an espionage story chiefly taking place over dinner. Certainly, a departure for the author.
I thought this was certainly an interesting approach to telling a story. Not the whole narrative takes place over dinner though. The story evolves through the eyes of the leading characters, until the surprising finally.
Unlike the other books, there really aren’t chases, secret drops, and last-minute rescues. Instead, the story-line unfolds, playing with memories and narratives which have been fogged up over several years.
Towards the ending, one needs to pay attention. I felt like Mr. Steinhauer decided to either end the story abruptly, or is missing a scene. The twist happens quickly, after a few lines (or line) attempting to misdirect the reader. If you were reading quickly, or tired, or didn’t pay close attention you probably missed it.
Furthermore, I felt, this was a disservice to the reader. While we certainly don’t need to be hit over the head with it, the twist could have been a bit more pronounced.
But again, that might have been the intent.
A terrorist group took over a hundred hostages in Vienna, Austria. The rescue attempt, however, went horribly wrong. Witnessing the tragedy, CIA’s Vienna branch believes the inside breach was someone in their office.
Case Officer Henry Pelham, investigating the night of the crisis, goes to Carmel-by-the-Sea, California, to relive the past with his ex-lover, Celia Harrison. Over dinner, Henry and Celia hash out their roles of a tragedy six years in the past.
Zohar — Man of la Book
Disclaimer: I got this book for free.
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