Olen Steinhauer books in order
Olen Steinhauer is an American screenwriter and author of mystery, thriller, historical mystery and spy fiction novels.
Raised in Virginia, he attended Lock Haven University of Pennsylvania, and the University of Texas in Austin, and earned his MFA in creative writing from Emerson College, Boston.
Steinhauer has lived all over the US and Europe, including places like Georgia, Mississippi, Pennsylvania, Texas, California, Massachusetts, New York, Croatia (then Yugoslavia), the Czech Republic and Italy.
He also lived in Romania for a year while on a Fulbright grant, where he gained invaluable experience that inspired the Yalta Boulevard Series.
His books have been New York Times, LA Times and Publishers Weekly bestsellers, with The Tourist (2009) earning 25 language translations.
Steinhauer was the screenwriter for the film adaptation of his novel All the Old Knives (2015), as well as the TV show, Berlin Station, which aired on Epix for three seasons.
He currently divides his time between Hungary and New York with his wife and daughter.
Genres: Historical Mystery, Mystery, Thriller
- The Cairo Affair (2014)
- All the Old Knives (2015)
- Vandals: A Short Story (2018)
- The Middleman (2018)
- The Tourist (2009)
- The Nearest Exit (2010)
- An American Spy (2012)
- The Last Tourist (2020)
- You Know What's Going On (2011)
- On the Lisbon Disaster (2014)
- Start-Up (2016)
- The Bridge of Sighs (2003)
- The Confession (2004)
- 36 Yalta Boulevard (2005)
- Liberation Movements (2006)
- Victory Square (2007)
Detailed book overview
Sophie Kohl is living a nightmare. Minutes after she confesses to her husband, a mid-level American diplomat in Hungary, that she had an affair while they were in Cairo, he is shot and killed.
Stan Bertolli, a Cairo-based CIA agent, has fielded his share of midnight calls. But his heart skips a beat when, this time, he hears the voice of the only woman he ever truly loved ask why her husband has been assassinated.
Omar Halawi has worked in Egyptian intelligence for years, and he knows how to play the game. But the murder of a diplomat in Hungary has ripples all the way to Cairo, and Omar must follow the fallout wherever it leads.
As these players converge on Cairo, the author unravels 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.
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.
Director: Janus Metz
Cast: Goksin Erdemli, Kasia Madera, Chris Pine, Thandiwe Newton, Laurence Fishburne, Jonathan Pryce, Ahd, Jonjo O'Neill, Abdul Alshareef
Rachel has been researching underground leftwing movements on the West Coast, but she knows she won't get any real info unless she goes undercover. So she heads out to San Francisco, moving into a tiny studio, and puts her ear to the ground. But what happens when she joins a group of them for a night party in Sonoma gets her more than she bargained for - and may even get her killed.
One day in the early summer of 2017, about four hundred people disappear from their lives. They leave behind cell phones, credit cards, jobs, houses, families--everything--all on the same day. Where have they gone? Why? The only answer, for weeks, is silence.
Kevin Moore is one of them. Former military, disaffected, restless, Kevin leaves behind his retail job in San Francisco, sends a good-bye text to his mother, dumps his phone and wallet into a trash can, and disappears.
The movement calls itself the Massive Brigade, and they believe change isn't coming fast enough to America. But are they a protest organization, a political movement, or a terrorist group? What do they want? The FBI isn't taking any chances. Special Agent Rachel Proulx has been following the growth of left-wing political groups in the U.S. since the fall of 2016, and is very familiar with Martin Bishop, the charismatic leader of the Massive Brigade. But she needs her colleagues to take her seriously in order to find these people before they put their plan--whatever it is--into action.
What Rachel uncovers will shock the entire nation, and the aftermath of her investigation will reverberate through the FBI to the highest levels of government.
Milo Weaver has tried to leave his old life of secrets and lies behind by giving up his job as a "tourist" 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. With new layers of intrigue being exposed in his old cases, he has no choice but to go back undercover and find out who's been pulling the strings once and for all.
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 "tourist." 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.
Now, with only a handful of “tourists”―CIA-trained assassins―left, Weaver would like to use this opportunity to return to a normal life, a life focused on his family. But his former CIA boss, Alan Drummond, can’t let the job 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 has no choice but to 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.
A decade later, Milo is hiding out in Western Sahara when a young CIA analyst arrives to question him about a series of suspicious deaths and terrorist chatter linked to him.
Their conversation is soon interrupted by a new breed of Tourists intent on killing them both, forcing them to run.
As he tells his story, Milo is joined by colleagues and enemies from his long history in the world of intelligence, and the young analyst wonders what to believe. He wonders, too, if he’ll survive this encounter.
"You Know What's Going On" is a novella (47 pages in the printed edition) originally published in Agents of Treachery, an espionage-fiction anthology edited by Otto Penzler.
Like my recent books (The Tourist, The Nearest Exit), "You Know What's Going On" deals with spies and spying, but with this story I wanted to move away from the European setting of most of my novels, and into Africa--specifically, Kenya and Somalia. I also wanted to deal with something I've kept at arm's length--Muslim extremism. Add to this Somali pirates, self-loathing Western agents, and a disastrous stop-over in Rome before heading on to Nairobi, and you have...well, you have the makings for some explosions.
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.
A young man struggles to find his identity...
Tom, a down-on-his-luck graduate is caring for his sick mother and reconnecting with his awkward friend, Jerry McLaughlin. Jerry lives in a relative's basement in Chicago, and over the intervening months the two young men strategize Jerry's seemingly innocuous plan to become a super-villain in the spirit of Bond greats like Blofeld. Things turn dark, however, when Jerry's plans find success, and he enlists the wayward Tom to help him expand his little start-up to the next level.
It's August, 1948, three years after the Russians "liberated" 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, where lawlessness and corruption are the rules of the city, and in which he's still expected to investigate a murder. He is truly on his own in this new, dangerous world.
Eastern Europe, 1956: Comrade Inspector Ferenc Kolyeszar, who is a proletariat writer in addition to his job 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, from the capital's shadowy criminal element.
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. Again trusting his superiors, 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.
NB: This book is also known as The Vienna Assignment.
It is 1975, and one of the People's Militia investigators is bound for Istanbul when his plane is hijacked by Armenian terrorists and explodes in midair.
Gavra Noukas, a secret policeman, and Katja Drdova, a homicide detective, are assigned to the case. Both believe that Brano Sev, their enigmatic superior and career secret policeman, is hiding the true motives of their investigation, but they can't figure out why until they learn that everything is connected to a seven-year-old murder with far-reaching consequences.
NB: This book is also known as The Istanbul Variations.
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, among 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.