Tomorrow marks the paperback release of The Tourist (Indie, Amazon, B&N), something I’m really looking forward to. The hardback—as I giggled about here—reached #19 on the New York Times list, and Minotaur is putting its best foot forward to try and get us on the paperback list.
What to do? Every writer wonders this when release date approaches, and the truth is that not much can be done. There are avid self-promoters who put their personal publicity machine into overdrive, but I’ve never been like that. Just putting together my little soundtrack, mentioned below, took about all my energy.
The only thing I can think of is to draw your attention to this starred Booklist review from the February 1 issue. It’s the first prepub look at The Nearest Exit, the second book of the trilogy, which will be out in May. Unlike my earlier quintet, these three books are meant to be read in order. They don’t have to be, but it certainly adds to the experience.
So think of it this way: If this Booklist review whets your appetite for The Nearest Exit, then now’s the time to pick up a copy of The Tourist, so that full enjoyment can be yours! Ah, hell—pick up a few for the family, friends, acquaintances and high-school friends you’ve lost track of while you’re at it. The weird guy who lives across the street? Yeah, he needs a few copies too.
And lest I forget: Thank you, Keir Graff:
Since the events of The Tourist (2009), Milo Weaver has served time in prison, worked in administration, and tried to reconnect with his wife and daughter. But talk therapy is hard when you’re trained to keep secrets. When asked to return to the field, he agrees, although, because of his disgust with the Department of Tourism (a black-ops branch of the CIA), he plans to feed information to his father, Yevgeny Primakov, the “secret ear” of the UN. But his handlers don’t trust him, either, giving him a series of vetting assignments that culminates in an impossible loyalty test: the abduction and murder of a 15-year-old girl. Ironically, Weaver is then tasked with finding a security breach that threatens the very existence of Tourism—and the lives of the Tourists. Seeing his own brutal compatriots as humans, he does his best to save the thing he despises, a conundrum that pretty much sums up the shades of gray that paint this modern-day espionage masterpiece. The Tourist was impressive, proving that Steinhauer had the ability to leap from the historical setting of his excellent Eastern European quintet to a vividly imagined contemporary landscape. But this is even better, a dazzling, dizzyingly complex world of clandestine warfare that is complicated further by the affairs of the heart. Steinhauer never forgets the human lives at stake, and that, perhaps, is the now-older Weaver’s flaw: he is too human, too attached, to be the perfect spy. His failure to save the girl he was told to kill threads the whole book like barbed wire.