Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Dear Great Book Guru, With the Passover and Easter holidays this weekend, I will be seeing friends and family and- as always- someone will ask “What have you read lately?” I would love to have a title to offer so my question is:  do you have something short and compelling that I could read over the next few  days?Looking for Something Short and But Definitely Not Sweet

Dear Looking…… I have just the book for you: ALL THE OLD KNIVES by Olen Steinhauer- a wonderful foray into the morally ambiguous world of the CIA.  Told from the perspectives of two agents- Henry and Celia- who had been stationed in Vienna six years before, this psychological thriller takes place almost entirely over one evening in an upscale Carmel restaurant.  The novel is in many ways reminiscent of Herman Koch's "The Dinner” with its elaborate descriptions of food and wine and the inevitable unraveling of the diners’ psyches. In alternating chapters, the two former lovers recount the events leading up to a tragically botched rescue attempt at a Viennese airport in which 120 passengers were killed. New intelligence points to a CIA mole who- in all likelihood- is either Celia or Henry.   The outcome of their dinner tonight  will be swift, annihilating justice.  While tension builds throughout and there are clues aplenty, the ending is nevertheless shocking, and we find ourselves caught up in a disturbing moral quandary. Highly recommended! 

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